V. 2) “Experts” tell us one-third of Americans get insufficient sleep, recommending seven hours of sleep for healthy minds and bodies. The psalmist repeats “in vain” you work early and late (long hours) “toiling,” implying not necessarily hard work, but working under tension, anxiety and stress. Sleep is given us by God to renew our bodies and minds.
Vv. 3-5) These verses are often read at a celebration for the birth of a child into a Jewish family. “Children are a reward from the Lord,” and with the happiness comes responsibility for their nurture and growth, a lifetime of support. We often put the emphasis on their health and physical development, sometimes neglecting their spiritual development. It troubles me to see churches giving up on Sunday school and youth ministries, saying it is too hard to compete with sports and entertainment. It is hard, but it needs to be done. Do you remember that it was often said that 85% of the new members of a church came by way of the Sunday school?
Our young people today are surrounded with all kinds of temptations – sex, alcohol, drugs, materialism. Instead of throwing up our hands in despair and resignation, saying “it is in vain,” we can nurture our own families spiritually and take a stronger stand in our churches for such ministries. Our summer programs (camp, VBS) are a bright spot. Perhaps we can also look about us, in our families and beyond, to see a child or young person who is not thriving – pray for them, reach out, given attention and love. It goes without saying that this must be done prayerfully and carefully.
A couple lines from B. J. Thomas when he was in trouble as a young man suggest this –
“You came to me when there were but frowns everywhere
You gave me love, when nobody gave me a prayer.”
(V. 5) This verse speaks of the joy, pride and security that comes with strong, capable young people to a father, to the family, and, by extension, to the church.
Today, let us be mindful of the futility of our efforts (“buildings”) without God, and seek to be more God-centered in our lives.
- Gordon Bourne
First Baptist Church, Burlington and their pastor Karen Mendes
First Baptist Church, Burlington, Karen Congregation, and their pastor Thee Say
New Alpha Missionary Baptist Church, Burlington and their pastor Leroy Dixon