Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2016
Texts: 2 Corinthians 5:7; Job 1 -2:8; Matthew 4:10; Matthew 13:39; John 8:1-11; Hebrews 11:10; Hebrews 4:15
Over the past week we have celebrated the Christmas season. It’s a time that can bring both highs and lows. Not just the typical highs and lows of everyday living, but the extremes that come with a highly emotional event. Some rejoice because they are reunited with family, while others are reminded of the bitter loss of someone very precious to them. Some are surrounded with so many holiday events and so much company that they fear they can’t endure the pressure, while others experience only emptiness and loneliness. Some delight at how God has led throughout the past year, while others question and ask “Why?” as they recount the losses and hurts.
A recent campaign in the South American country of Columbia utilized these same highs and lows to entice guerrilla fighters out of the jungles and back to their families. Jose Miguel Sokoloff, a successful marketing executive, was hired to create an operation to bring guerrilla fighters home. Part of the campaign was called Operation Bethlehem, which appealed to the Christmas memories of the guerrillas.1 Trees in the jungle were decorated with lights and the message to come home. Over 6,000 messages were collected from family members and placed in lighted balls that were floated down the rivers, the highways of the jungle.2 These messages reached the hearts of the guerrilla fighters and many thousands came home.
In our Sabbath School lesson this week, we look back over the book of Job and his experience in dealing with the highest and lowest points of life. Job had experienced the highs of success and family, and through it he maintained a trust—a faith—a dependence on God that did not falter. When the unthinkable happened and he lost family, health, and possessions, Job continued to voice his trust in God no matter what came his way. During times of success, he refused to become so self-reliant that he trusted in possessions and good fortune rather than God. During times of loss he refused to be swayed by the faulty logic of his well-intentioned friends, or the hurt that is inevitable when one endures losses.
Just as the guerrillas were drawn back to family and home through the memories and invitations they received, Job was drawn, through his enduring faith, to keep his eyes on and trust in God. Job believed God. He believed that God always acts in our best interest, and that He is always faithful to His children. Job understood the ability to be at home in God’s love and presence.
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