The Plague of Chain Emails
1Timothy 4:12, 15-16 Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity...Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
I received an email this week which had a blurred and obscured picture attached. The picture was claimed to be "miraculous" and the caption told horror stories about those who had not forwarded it including the deaths of their children. The people who the caption claimed to have forwarded it naturally hit the lottery. The imperative at the end was of course, send to 10 people immediately. After seeing so many different varieties of these spam emails, mostly forwarded by Christians, someone suggested a devotional addressing what kind of an example we should be setting would be welcomed. I agree.
I know there are bigger fish to fry. I know that in the light of a fallen world, the eminent return of Jesus and the eternal lives hanging in the balance, spam email may seem almost trivial. But consider for a moment the words in the key verses from the Apostle Paul. All Scripture is the divinely inspired Word of Almighty God. It all matters and it all counts. Here we see Paul instructing Timothy how he is to "represent", as the youth like to say today. We are to set an example for each other. That example needs to be set in our speech (including email), our lives, in love, in faith and in purity. Why? So everyone can see your progress! God is imploring us to be diligent in these matters. The dictionary defines diligent as:
Done or pursued with persevering attention; painstaking
The example we set needs to be pursued beloved; with persevering attention. It needs to be painstaking. Paul finishes off the thought by reminding us that the consequences are far more than trivial indeed. It is how we and those that would hear us are saved. There are eternal ramifications for what we do and the example that we set. Consider for a moment some thoughts.
1) Does the email seek to glorify God or does it take glory away from God? The example I referenced above calls a picture "miraculous" and transfers the power of life and death from God to the picture. The Prophet Isaiah reminds us that God will not share His glory:
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another. Isaiah 48:11