Summary: As Christians, living in this materialistically oriented society, we need to consider the word of God delivered by Jeremiah to Baruch, his scribe: "Seek Not Great Things for Thyself!"
SEEK NOT GREAT THINGS FOR THYSELF
"Baruch, this is what the Lord says: ’I will destroy this nation that I built. I will uproot what I planted. Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! But don’t be discouraged. I will bring great disaster upon all these people, but I will protect you wherever you go. I, the Lord, have spoken." Jeremiah 45:4-5 [New Living Translation]
This message from God was given by Jeremiah to Baruch in a time of great personal discouragement in the scribe’s life. It seems that his personal aspirations had come to naught. His desire to seek great things for himself, meeting with no success, left him disconsolate. This can be readily deduced from Jeremiah 45:3 which reads: “I am overwhelmed with trouble! Haven’t I had enough pain already! And now the Lord has added more! I am weary of my own sighing and can find no rest.”
It is at this point that, through Jeremiah, God asks Baruch a soul-searching question: “Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! But don’t be discouraged…I will protect you wherever you go.” (Jeremiah 45:5 New Living Translation).
God’s word to Baruch has a strong message for God’s people today. Many people today, who profess faith in Christ, are caught up in the covetous spirit of the world in the “more for me” or “great things for me” philosophy which is embodied in the prayer of Jabez. Look carefully at his prayer. Not a single petition in behalf of anyone but himself! No thought for anyone but himself! Consider his prayer.
“Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying. ‘Oh that Thou wouldst bless ME indeed, and enlarge MY border, and that Thy hand might be with ME, and that Thou wouldst keep ME from harm, that it may not pain ME!” (I Chronicles 4:10).
Perhaps it would be good today for Christians to consider God’s admonition to Baruch: “Seek not great things for thyself! Somehow, some way, we have lost sight of the motto: “God first…Others second…Self last!”
Does it not behoove us, in these last days, to strive, as children of God, to live on a plane much higher than our own selfish ambition? In this materialistic generation, which tends to enslave both youth and adult alike, we are admonished by the words of the Apostle Paul. Consider:
“Now we who are strong ought to bear with the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written: ‘The reproaches of those who reproached Thee fell upon Me.” Romans 15:1-3.
Let us compare the “great things” the world offers with the “greater things” that God provides for His children.
SOME "GREAT THINGS" WE SHOULD NOT SEEK:
Great worldly honor:
"Now everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown." I Corinthians 9:25.
Great worldly riches.
"For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:26. "For [earthly] riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations." Proverbs 27:24.
Great worldly position and power:
"…Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting: ’The voice of a god and not of a man!’ Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died." Acts 12:21-23.
The Christian should not seek worldly honor, riches, and power to the neglect of his own soul. The things that the world offers are but temporary in nature whereas the things of God endure forever. Even when thinking in temporal terms, the child of God is assured of being supplied his every need.
Consider: “But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33.
THE "GREATER THINGS" THAT GOD HAS IN STORE FOR US:
Far greater honor:
"Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." I John 3:2.
Far greater riches:
"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs---heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together." Romans 8:16-17.
Far greater position and power:
"He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." Revelation 3:21.