Job 39:9-12 Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? (10) Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee? (11) Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? or wilt thou leave thy labour to him? (12) Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn?
We do not know exactly what the unicorn was, but we do know that it was a real creature at the time of Job. Three characteristics stand out from the Bible’s mentions of this creature: it had one horn, hence the name; it was extremely powerful; and it was totally unsuited for domestication or labor. Some have speculated that the unicorn was a rhinoceros, others that it was a type of horse or creature now extinct. One thing is certain – the unicorn wasn’t going to pull Job’s plow.
Allow me to take a Bible principle and robe it in the imagery of our text. The principle is contentment: Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Contentment goes against our fallen nature. Covetousness is natural. The world around us caters to the three-fold lust of the flesh, eyes, and ego (pride of life). I want to have, I want to see, I want to be. More specifically, I want to have what I shouldn’t have, see what I shouldn’t see, and be what I shouldn’t be. Contentment is the opposite of covetousness, which is forbidden in the Tenth Commandment:
Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
Covetousness is wanting my neighbor’s house instead of my house, his wife instead of my wife, his stuff instead of my stuff, his position instead of my position. Contentment is being satisfied with what I have and can rightfully enjoy.
We live in a time when many are disconnected from reality. This disconnection (whether it is because of TV, movies, novels, magazines, pornography, etc) leads to disappointment with reality. People have in their minds a perfect or near perfect vision of what their marriage should be, or their love life should be, or their children should be, or their parents should be, or their church should be – and they are disappointed because real life does not measure up to their unrealistic expectations.
Allow me to apply the imagery of our passage in Job. Here is a man who needs his fields plowed so he can plant a crop and harvest it. Out there somewhere is a unicorn. He thinks to himself, “It sure would be awesome to have a unicorn. Wouldn’t it be something to hook one of those up to a plow. I bet I could really cover some acres with one of those.”
The truth is that a man who needs his field plowed would do better with a yoke of oxen or even a good, strong mule. Why? Because a unicorn isn’t going to pull his plow. He’s not going to abide in his barn and he is not going to stay in the furrows and he is not going to do his work.
The unicorn is the fantasy. An ox or a mule is the reality. And many are so set on having the fantasy that they miss out entirely on the reality.
Many preachers are discontent with their churches. Somewhere out there is Unicorn Baptist Church. It runs several hundred (not too big, not too small), has nice buildings (paid for) in a growing community. The starting salary has six figures to the left of the decimal point and tons of benefits. There’s money for a secretary and staff. They run five buses and have backup drivers for each bus. Everyone gets along just fine. The pastor gets 6 weeks paid vacation a year, and is honored with gifts on his birthday, anniversary, at Christmas, during Pastor Appreciation month, and on Groundhog Day. He is given a new car every year. And the demographics are perfect for his style of ministry.
Several years ago, I received a letter from a preacher up north who was looking for a church to pastor. He wrote that he was looking for:
“…a flock of knowledgeable, born again believers, that believe the KJB is perfect, and that love soul winning… that attend church on a regular basis, that support their pastor and his wife and love one another and the souls of the lost, that pray often, that read and study their Bible and want to learn more about it; people that aren’t always bickering and fighting and back biting one another and the pastor and his wife… If you know of a Church that my wife and I could be a help to, please call me at…”
I would say that if such a church exists, they don’t need any help; if they do exist, they probably aren’t looking for a pastor; and if they are, I might consider applying there myself. The fact is that the fellow who wants to pastor might consider starting a church – but that would mean meeting in a storefront or school with just a handful of people you have to find yourself; or, he could take a church without a pastor – but churches without pastors usually have a whole set of problems left by the last pastor. And who wants to deal with that reality when somewhere out there is the perfect church?
So, pastors keep searching. And they get hired somewhere. And for a couple of years they enjoy the honeymoon. But, every five years or so, these preachers leave their church in search of that Unicorn Baptist Church – because what they thought was a unicorn was actually just a dressed up donkey. And so the search continues.
Many church members are afflicted with the same obsession for the “perfect church” and the “perfect pastor.” Many husbands are not content with their wives. Many wives are not content with their husbands. And the search goes on. It will never end – because the unicorn isn’t going to pull your plow.
Instead of trying to plow with unicorns, learn to be content with such things as you have. Instead of comparing your wife to some airbrushed woman on a screen, look again at what a treasure you actually have in a godly woman. Instead of comparing your husband to some make-believe character, look again at the man that you said you loved and that you chose to marry. Instead of comparing your church to the advertisement of Unicorn Baptist Church, look for the good qualities of the church that God actually put you into.
You’ll find that life is much happier and more successful in the long run. You’ll actually bring in a harvest. A real harvest.
Thank you for reading. God bless.