“In the thought of one who is at ease there is contempt for misfortune…” (Job 12:5)
“At ease” is a great place to be on a Friday. You’ve worked hard, kept your nose to the grindstone, and now it’s time to kick back, relax, and enjoy the weekend.
“At ease” is a great place to be in life. Your career is going well, your marriage is great, the kids are healthy, there’s money in the bank, and the future couldn’t be more bright.
“At ease” is a great place to be as a nation. Sure, there are the daily headlines that worry us here and there, but year in and year out we lead such comfortable lives. We have incredible modern conveniences, we enjoy wonderful freedoms, and we’re citizens of a country where opportunities abound.
“At ease” is a great place to be.
But take a moment to chew on what Job said a long, long time ago. “In the thought of one who is at ease there is contempt for misfortune.” What is it about the “good life” that can so subtly intoxicate and delude us into believing we have the right to look down on the less fortunate? Why in the world would I ever look at my ease as license to despise those who are downtrodden and hurting? Why am I, in my present ease, worthy of more respect than the person in present need?
It makes me think of those two men from Jesus’s parable in Luke 16.
“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores…” (Luke 16:19-21)
Why should that rich man pay any attention to some poor fellow that had been laid at his gate? He was “at ease.” Fancy clothes. Gated property. Sumptuous feasts, day after day after day. In the thoughts of the one who was at ease there was a lack of concern for misfortune…
…but then the rich man died.
And in Hades he was reminded, “you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish” (Luke 16:25).
“At ease” in life, “in anguish” for eternity. That’s a bad trade.
One of the great lessons in the Old Testament book of Job is that we ought to be so very careful “explaining” things far above our pay grade. Why are some “at ease” while others are “in anguish”? Why do some live for decades in the lap of luxury while others continually struggle to provide the most basic necessities? Why are some born in prosperous countries and others born into nightmare environments? We don’t know.
But here’s one thing we should know and remember: in the thoughts of those at ease, there ought not be any contempt for misfortune. We’re channels, not reservoirs. We’ve been blessed to bless. Comforted to comfort. Saved to serve. We don’t look down, we lift up in the name of the One who was despised and rejected so that we might be forgiven, reconciled, and transformed. We reflect a holy light. We share in the name of the Savior who has gone to prepare a place for us. We bear each other’s burdens in the name of the King who is coming again.
Gratitude, compassion, and generosity ought to fill the thoughts of the one who is at ease.