Years ago, I was once playing golf with a co-worker when he began to go on a 10-minute tirade about his problems with the contractor adding a huge patio to the back of his luxury home in a gated community. I remember thinking at the time something along the lines of “first world problem” and not having much sympathy for him. People in the third world were worrying about things like “can I feed my family?” and “will we survive until the next year?” But later on, I wondered “was I being too hard on him?” Maybe his home represented the pinnacle of his achievement in his career or his provision for his family. Maybe this patio was going to be used by him to enjoy time with his family and friends or extend hospitality to neighbors. I wasn’t sure, but I questioned how quick I was to look down on this guy and his disappoint in getting his patio ready. Was that how God really wanted me to react? He didn’t want we to look down on him, but how should I have responded?
And how does God view our first world problems? When our computer download speed is very slow does God care? When our mocha latte isn’t made properly or we have trouble getting good service at a restaurant, does God laugh at the triviality? Baruch’s dilemma in Jeremiah 45 maybe isn’t that trivial, but it speaks to a struggle to have perspective – the challenge of the first world problem. We often find ourselves with these challenges when we live in a wealthy western nation, especially a place like Loudoun county. How does God react and how does he want us to react? Baruch will find grace in the midst of his first world problem and we will too. Let dig in this Sunday and see the wisdom from God’s word when we have trouble with perspective.