Job is an example for us all in many ways (James 5:11). But what do we learn from him? In this article we will briefly consider what we can learn from this “example of suffering and patience” (James 5:10).
One fundamental lesson we learn from Job is this: The most important thing on earth is not the “things on earth.” The most important thing on earth is to love and trust in God. Job lost the things that most people consider to be the most important, but he never lost his faith in God. Do you remember his statement, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15)? This is the thing that Satan could not take away. This is the thing that Job did not lose. There are many things that are important to us on earth. For example,
1. RELATIONSHIPS. All of us probably agree that earthly relationships are important. Job had some important earthly relationships. He had a relationship with his wife, children, friends, and other acquaintances. Yet he lost them. All of his children died in one day. His wife, brothers, friends, and others turned against him. And even the three friends who stuck with him accused him of some horrible things. Earthly relationships, as important as they may be, are not the most important things on earth.
2. WEALTH. Some people consider riches as the most important thing on earth. And, of course, there is nothing wrong with being rich. It can be a blessing. Job had plenty of earthly riches. In fact, when it came to riches, he was the “greatest man in the East” (Job 1:3). Like Howard Hughes, Job was famous for his wealth. But he lost all of his wealth. It was all “taken away” (Job 2:21). Many in our day have lost all of the wealth that they had. Investors in Enron and other stocks have lost their fortunes. Others have lost their money in bad real estate investments, bad business deals, and other ways. Riches can be important when properly used, but wealth is not the most important thing on earth.
3. RESPECT. Being respected is an important thing. Living in such a way that others respect us is a worthy goal for us all. “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches” (Proverbs 22:1). But “respect” is not the most important thing on earth. Job was respected and admired by those who knew him. Yet Job lost the respect of others. Satan was allowed to take it away. Job said, “Even the little boys scorned me; when I appear, they ridicule me” (Job 19:18). Having others respect us is important, but it is not the most important thing on earth.
4. REPUTATION. Having a good reputation is important. Job had a good reputation. Job said that there was a time when “everyone listened to my advice” (Job 29:21). He was like E. F. Hutton: when he spoke, people would listen. But he lost his reputation. Satan destroyed it. Even the younger men mocked and made fun of him (Job 30:1). Having a good reputation is important, but it not the most important thing on earth.
5. HEALTH. Being healthy is important. God wants us to “prosper in all things and be in health” (3 John 2). We are taught to “do yourself no harm” (Acts 16:28) and to “glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:20). Being healthy is important and we should all try to eat right, exercise right, and avoid things that destroy our health. Evidently Job was healthy for a long time. But he lost his health. After he was afflicted by Satan he lived for months in misery (Job 7:3). Having good health is important, but it is not the most important thing on earth.
Remember that the most important thing on earth are not the “things on earth” (relationships, wealth, respect, reputation, or health) because these things can change, be taken away and/or destroyed. The most important things on earth are to love God and “trust in Him” (Job 13:15).