Apparently on Sunday I gave a few people the impression that Job may have been a closet communist. When I first heard of that confusion I laughed and assumed that the person had simply misheard me. When a second person raised the same question, it occurred to me that I may have accidentally misspoken.
Rest assured, our dear brother Job was not a communist.
I think what I actually said was something along these lines – the sentence isn’t in the manuscript so I can’t reproduce it exactly:
“Job was active in helping the poor. He cared about the old, the sick and the needy – and not just those in front of his face, Job says that he went looking for people like that so as to help them. In the Bible that’s considered social righteousness, but do you know what some people call that today? A liberal! Or even a communist! That’s how far we’ve strayed from the biblical ideal.”
The point I was trying to make is that in much of the church today, a concern for the poor, the old, the sick and the vulnerable is associated with certain left-leaning political philosophies. But a careful Bible reader will notice that such concerns are commended in both the Old and New Testaments for members of the covenant community. For example, James 1:27 says:
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27 ESV)
Thus, what I was trying to say, was that concerns like that DON’T mark you as a communist, they mark you as a CHRISTIAN.
But obviously that point was not clearly or usefully made.
I am reminded of another citation from the Epistle of James:
“For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.” (James 3:2 ESV)
Apparently, I am not a perfect man, and so therefore, I stumble from time to time in terms of what I say. This will not come as a shock to anyone who knows me. 🙂 But rest assured, I am not a communist and neither is our dear brother Job.
I apologize for any confusion. 🙂
Pastor Paul Carter