Forest Lake Talks

12/14/22 Devotional from Ed

December 14, 2022


On Sunday, I was reminded of how easy it is to get caught up in enmity and jealousy.

In the Words after the Word class, a participant mentioned he sometimes calls Facebook something like, "Places went where you weren't invited." That led into a few comments on how social media presents us in ways we control, ways that sometimes give people the impression things are really better than reality. We wouldn't want Instagram and Facebook to show getting ready in the mornings, cleaning up kitchens, flu, flat tires, messy houses, would we?

We know the dangers of social media addiction, but what do many of us do? In the midst of life's everyday challenges, we still check social media and see our neighbor's house is clean, their children are in perfect Christmas outfits, their Great Wolf Lodge trip was perfect, and how they feel #blessed and #grateful this Christmas season.

To use the words from our Scripture below, is this mutual envy? Is it one-sided envy? Is it simply wind chasing?

What if the social media accounts did show reality? Wouldn't this make things more genuine? Real? Would we worry less about comparison?

If you struggle with comparison, try listening to this podcast. Listen to this parent come to the realization that "everybody has something." All of us have something that isn't the perfection we present on social media.

And, despite our imperfections, we are claimed and beloved by a God who doesn't get caught up in social media and doesn't try to cover up our imperfections. We are beloved by a God who loves us despite those imperfections.

Thanks be to God.

Prayer: Holy God, thank you for loving our whole selves. Amen.

Text: Ecclesiastes 4:1-8 (Common English Bible translation)

When I next observed all the oppressions that take place under the sun, I saw the tears of the oppressed—and they have no one to comfort them. Their oppressors wield power—but they have no one to comfort them. 2 So I declare that the dead, who have already died, are more fortunate than the living, who are still alive. 3 But happier than both are those who have never existed, who haven’t witnessed the terrible things that happen under the sun.

4 I also observed that people work hard and become good at what they do only out of mutual envy. This too is pointless, just wind chasing.

5 Fools fold their hands and eat their own flesh.
6 But better is resting with one handful
than working hard for two fistfuls and chasing after wind.

7 Next, I saw under the sun something else that was pointless: 8 There are people who are utterly alone, with no companions, not even a child or a sibling. Yet they work hard without end, never satisfied with their wealth. So for whom am I working so hard and depriving myself of enjoyment? This too is pointless and a terrible obsession.

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