The Careless Acts of Men – Today’s Thoughts…
By Pastor Lee Hemen
November 25, 2008
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. (Luke 2:1-5)
Things do not change much in life or history. People still fall in love, parents have children, and the government often creates hardship when it interferes with people’s lives. Just like it did with Mary and Joseph’s. Of course being a Christian and believing in the predestination of God I could say it was predetermined that the government would interfere in the life of the parents of Jesus, but we all make choices. Including governments that are instituted by God.
I find it fascinating that one small stroke of the pen by an emperor somewhere off in far distant Rome, made the difference in where Jesus was born. I am sure he did not care and if it was brought somehow to his imperial attention that his signature on the decree for taxes would make a couple, the mother pregnant, travel across the Middle East, he would not have been concerned in the least. And isn’t this, I suppose, the way of all bureaucrats that have removed themselves from the people they are supposed to govern?
It also brings up another question: How far removed are we from influencing the lives of others around us? Keeping promises, following through on paying what we owe, keeping our word, or even by the mere fact we cut someone off on the road. Perhaps we treated a salesclerk harshly, or a waitress with disrespect, or a neighbor with contempt, and, we, could care less. There it is: care less. Careless living as a believer can cause others harm when we do not think before we act. To be careless is not taking care of how we live or how we act as a believer. At least Caesar August had an excuse! He needed more tax money and a proper census needed to be taken so that no one would be charged more, or of course less, than they should have been. After all Rome was at least consistent. What then is our excuse when we could care less when we do something that affects the lives of others, our families, or ourselves? Now do not try and let yourself off the hook by declaring, “Perhaps it is the will of God!” Be careful of such a careless attitude.
Joseph was obedient to the decree of Rome and he went dutifully to register his new wife even though she was pregnant. It was his duty. The signature of an Emperor put into motion the will of God where the Messiah would be born. He did not care whose life it affected. The outcome God meant for our good, but how do you watch your carelessness? Should we not all take care as to how we carelessly treat others, especially this holiday season? Oh I pray so! What do you think?
This article is copyrighted © 2008 by Lee Hemen and if you reprint it, reproduce it, or want to use it in any way, you must do so in its entirety or get the written permission of its author.