Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Psalm 37:3
Many years ago, recording artists Geoff Moore and the Distance released Go To The Moon. The song dealt with an attitude Christians sometimes harbor, and may be reluctant to admit. They’d like to be in Heaven. If not possible, these saints would prefer to be sequestered away from all those stinkin’ sinners! If unbelievers won’t join us, avoid them at any cost. Afraid of falling victim to negative influences, these Christians forget it should be the other way around. Rather than strategically position themselves in places of influence, they retreat to enclaves to hope and pray that Jesus returns quickly. I’m happy those types of Christians weren’t around when I needed to know about Jesus.
The approach to life in Psalm 37:3 is very different that the one described above. David knew the difficulties of life in a hostile environment. His solution - dwell, settle down and set up camp in the war zone. His mindset was, “I’m putting down roots and I’m here for the long haul. Like it or not, I’m not leaving.” He admits that to live God’s way doesn’t always appear as profitable as wickedness; but don’t be fooled. Everyone reaps what they sow, the good and the bad. Sometimes the best thing to do is to pray for a major crop failure.
Jesus spoke about a similar scenario in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Matthew -30). As a gardener, I understand this analogy. Weeds are prolific and grow effortlessly; better than the plants I feed and nurse along. In the parable the tares represent the wicked; people like you and me before we came to know Christ as Savior. The owner of the field discovered the enemy’s attempt to destroy his wheat harvest. The man’s servants wanted to uproot the tares, but the owner wouldn’t permit it. He recognized that at this stage of development, the wheat would be damaged if the tares were forcibly removed. How can the elimination of wicked people be detrimental to believers?
In the effort to “come out from among them and be separate,” many Christians have “gone to the moon,” so to speak. They’ve adopted a hands off attitude toward government, education, business, arts, media and so forth. In the vacuum, unbelievers assumed the reins and now control most aspects of the global economy and decision making processes. If the recent economic downturn was bad, what would’ve happened if all ungodly people had been instantaneous removed? What type of hit would the world’s economic, social and political systems have taken? Would there be qualified, competent believers ready to step up and take charge? I would hope so, but I’m not so sure.
The answer isn’t to get rid of them or hide out in a corner but to engage the world around us. Psalm 37:3 states that safety comes through occupation not isolation. Jesus reinforced this idea in Luke 19. The man’s servants were to occupy until he returned.