Kenneth Samuel: Omissions

"You must have refused to loan money to needy friends unless they gave you all their clothing as a pledge.  You must have refused water to the thirsty and bread to the starving.  But no doubt you gave men of importance anything they wanted..." - Job 22:6-8 (The Living Bible)

At an early age I was taught that there are sins of commission - the wrong that we do; and there are sins of omission - the good that we fail to do.  In my life I've discovered that it's much easier to refrain from doing the wrong things than it is to commit to doing the right things.

Sins of omission can be far more egregious than the sins of commission.  The 18th century Irish political philosopher, Edmund Burke said "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing."

There is nothing in the biblical record that would suggest that Job attained his vast wealth and social prominence through any means of illegality, impropriety or immorality.  In fact, Job chapter 1 tells us that Job was a blameless and upright man who feared God.  Impressive credentials, indeed!

But while we know that Job was wealthy, the Bible never mentions Job's generosity to the poor.  We know that Job had seven prosperous sons (each of them owned homes large enough for family feasts) and three lovely daughters, but the Bible gives no indication that Job reached out to help any orphan or any child in crisis.  The Bible tells us that Job was the greatest man among all the people of the East, but nothing in the record says that Job tried to relieve the suffering of others in the East, who struggled daily with deficit, disease and neglect.

If Job's critics were correct, the sins of Job are the same as yours and mine.  They are the sins of reneging on the opportunities God gives us to use our abundance in service to others.  They are the sins of conveniently forgetting to notice persons in need all around us.  They are the sins of counting our blessings, and then failing to make our blessings count.

In just about any good card game, it's not just the cards we play, it's the cards we keep and fail to play at the opportune times that determine the game.


Dear God, we thank you for the discipline to not steal.  Now please give us the grace to share.  Amen.

Taken with permission from UCC's StillSpeaking Devotional