The blight of sadness will hinder one’s relationship with God. It is a blight to one’s spiritual life to be overtaken and ruled by sadness when great joy should come from the forgiveness and washing away of sin (Acts 8:39). Furthermore, in finding the pearl of great price one should experience joy unspeakable and full of glory. Yet, tragically, sadness can wreck and destroy Christian service.
Jesus encountered the rich young ruler (Matt. 19:16-22; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:18-23). By all external appearances, this young ruler was living right. He had kept the commandments by his own admission and apparently it was so because the Lord did not find fault with his statement, but rather “loved him” and told him that he must sell all that he had and give it to the poor then follow Him. By Mark’s account “he was sad. . . and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.” Here is a Bible example of sadness hindering service. If our Lord were physically here on the earth and met you and me, I wonder if he would say the same to us. We are living in the richest country in the world with every luxury imaginable and some that were unimaginable just a few years ago, yet in many cases and in many places Christian service is at an all-time low. Could it be that those you sit next to in worship are guilty of this same sadness? Perhaps the collection plate testifies to this fact. You see, we may be in the blight of sadness because of riches.
Many times the physical sorrow due to death in the family or of a loved one will bring about the blight of sadness, blighting one’s service to the Lord. How sad this is, because death came from sin (I Cor. 15:21). So, when death blights one’s service to the Lord causing that one to sin, then the irony of this sad condition is fully realized. Jesus dealt with this very issue in Matthew 8:22 where one of His disciples wanted to go and bury his father, but Jesus answered “let the dead bury their dead,” meaning that death and the resulting sadness should not be allowed to interfere with or stop our service to the Lord. Was Jesus forbidding us to mourn the death of our loved ones? No, He was not (John 11:35-36). Too many times a godly woman has quit her service to the Lord when her faithful husband passed away. Perhaps you can observe a good man loyal in service to the Lord for many years, who just quits with the death of his loving wife. How sad! The love of family cannot surpass the love of the Lord and one be acceptable to God (Matt. 10:37-38).
The cares of this life can cause the blight of sadness. Notice Paul’s exhortation to Timothy on the love of money: “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Tim. 6:10). You see that the love of money can cause one to err from the faith into the blight of sadness. The Hebrew writer said, “. . .be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5). Pursuit of this world’s goods will never satisfy, but will bring about the blight of sadness. Jesus warned His disciples not to be overtaken with the cares of this life and let the day of the Lord come upon them unawares (Luke 21:34-36).
The blight of sadness is real and can be seen in the lives of too many people. Even in this land of plenty the unsuspecting pursuit of material things can bring a blight on our Christian life. The challenge is to keep our eyes on the goal, keep our heads up and be faithful, loyal and true servants to the end. God is ready to reward the faithful (Rev. 2:10; Matt. 10:22). Don’t let sadness blight your service to the Lord.
-David Hill