As she held the two-year-old child in the air, I asked him a question:
“How did you get so high up?”
The answer was immediate: “It’s because I’m growing up big.”
“Are you sure it isn’t because your mom is holding you?” I replied.
“No,” he mused, shaking his head. “That’s not it.”
As a child, that sort of behavior is adorable—but as we mature into our teen years, we often maintain that same stance, not fully appreciating the profound role our parents, teachers and other mentors play in our lives. This is a serious lack of perspective, and one that God warns about in the book of Job.
Some experts believe that Job built the Great Pyramids—an archaeological achievement that continues to stump architects even today. Job was great by human standards, but the most righteous man on Earth is still just dirt compared to God. In Job 38-39, God asked Job a series of questions beginning with: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.” (Job 38:4). How do the Great Pyramids compare to the design of the planet itself—or to the solar system? Job’s accomplishments couldn’t be compared to the great Creator of the universe!
Job’s trials show us how desperately we need God. Even though God called Job “perfect and upright” (Job 1:1), He still allowed Satan the devil to decimate Job’s life: Raiders stole a great deal of his property, lightning destroyed his sheep and the servants caring for them, and—worst of all—his children were all killed by a whirlwind. When Job withstood all of this tragedy—still praising God—the Eternal allowed Satan to cover him from head to toe with painful boils—an indescribable agony. This ensured that he would learn a lesson that every human needs to learn—especially the young.
Through all of this, Job maintained his righteousness—and told anyone who would listen: “My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live” (Job 27:6).
Was Job righteous? Definitely. But he was also very self-righteous! In chapter 29, Job uses the words I, me, or mine 52 times in 25 verses; he was completely focused on himself!
Job didn’t see that he could possibly be wrong. This is why Elihu—the only one of Job’s friends God didn’t criticize—was angry with Job; he “justified himself rather than God” (Job 32:1-2). Job thought God needed him and completely lost sight of how desperately he needed God.
Similarly, you need the authority figures in your life. Ask yourself a few questions: Where does my food come from? Who paid for my clothes? Why is there heat in my home? But my intention here isn’t simply to point you toward your parents because this observation is even more significant spiritually: Where does food come from in the first place? Why is there breathable air? Why do I, out of all the teenagers on Earth, have access to God’s truth? The answer to these questions should fill us with gratitude, both toward our physical parents on Earth and our spiritual Father in heaven.
In How to Be an Overcomer, Pastor General Gerald Flurry wrote: “Imagine being a father or mother and having your child tell you, You know, it is really important that I am in this family; I don’t know how it would function without me. You would probably paddle his little bottom. God feels the same way. He doesn’t want you to have an attitude of, Look at what I am contributing in this Work. Rather, He wants you to say, Thanks for working through me and letting me be a part of your Family and for sharing all you have with me. That is reality — the other view is a fantasy.”
As a young person, you are learning to support God’s Work in the future in part by how you support your family today. How does your attitude within your family measure up: Are you convinced you are indispensable or filled with gratitude for what the Almighty God and those He has given you have shared with you?
Do we recognize the love and sacrifice of our parents, grandparents, teachers and other authority figures in our lives? Even more importantly, can we realize the astonishing power and glory of the God who created the entire universe? Can we—as Job did—reach the point where we truly see God? If we really see the answers to these questions, we’ll more fully rely on our Father in heaven—no matter how big we grow up to be.