|Vol. 13 No. 11 November 2011||
Adam B. Cozort
A short time ago, my son Daniel said his own prayer for the first time. It was of his own volition as he asked his mother at bedtime if he could say his own. In that prayer he thanked God for all the things little children do (and big adults should). He thanked God for everyone from Mommy to Grandpa to baby brother and the dog. However, the point that got Shea tickled and me thinking was when he thanked God for Jonah, David and Daniel. These are the men he has been studying in Bible class both on Sunday and Wednesday. It was, as it is often said, “out of the mouths of babes” that an important question came to mind.
My question is this: “How often do we thank God for the believers of the past?” God could have very easily given a list of commands and requirements a mile long and left it at that. Yet, He chose not to do so. Instead, He gave us a series of examples, both right and wrong, good and evil, of how others throughout history have dealt with various situations and commands of God. He then, through the apostle Paul, relayed to us the reason for this. Paul states, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). We have numerous examples that show us the quality of life God makes available to man, the expectations of life God has for man and the continuation of life facing all men.
Unfortunately, some consider the biblical accounts tedious, meaningless or useless to us today. Such could not be further from the truth. God’s expectations for man are the same today as they were at the beginning of time, to “fear God, and keep his commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). The law under which we live is different, and the means by which that law is communicated to us today is different from past times, but the expectations are still the same.
We should be ever thankful to God for the believers that came before us, for the examples they left and the willingness of God to record their lives to our benefit. Without their examples, our ability to see the impact of God’s laws in the lives of men would be greatly diminished. As you pray to God, don’t forget to thank God for believers.
Noah Webster, in his 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, defined fop as “a vain man of weak understanding and much ostentation; one whose ambition is to gain admiration by showy dress and pertness.”
There are some today who are fops. Some people cannot resist buying the newest clothes fashions. They must have the best suits or the best dresses. They do not care about things of real importance. They only care about putting on a show with what they wear.
Unfortunately, there are fops who attend church. These individuals do not really care about the church or Christ. They rarely do anything for the cause of Christ. Some of them choose to only attend services once on Sunday. They may not show up for midweek Bible study. They rarely study their Bibles. These individuals rarely give to good causes. Yet, these individuals wear fine clothes when they show up for worship. They have on a nice dress or a very nice suit. They have their fine watches and jewelry on so that others may see.
Fops are weak in spiritual understanding and are not interested in growing in knowledge and understanding. Fops attend worship simply as a show.
There is nothing wrong with having nice clothes and fine jewelry. However, one must desire spiritual things more. First Peter 3:3-4 tells women that it is the “hidden man of the heart” which is most important. Peter says it is not the outward appearance of jewelry and of clothes that God wants. Isaiah 3:16-26 gave a warning to the Jews regarding the same problem. The women were more interested in their outward appearances than in their inward spiritual state. The principle holds true for men just as much as for women.
Do not be a fop. Study your Bible. Grow in the knowledge and understanding that it gives, and if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.