Monday, January 9, 2012

Tested in the little things

Even though not a favorite color combination, I tend to be a black and white person. For me, something is either right or wrong, good or bad. I cannot wear gray and seldom see issues in shades of gray, that is, partly right or right some of the time. The worst of this is that I can make snap judgments without enough information. However, when making strong either/or decisions, I’m in good company. Jesus did it fairly often and even tells me to obey Him in black and white terms.
One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Luke 16:10–13)
Like “partly pregnant” there is no such thing as partial obedience. God wants me to obey Him from the heart and with all possible effort. He wants me to obey in the little things (or what seems like little things to me) and the bigger issues of life. I’m to be as respectful to a telemarketer as I am to my in-laws, as careful with the pennies as I am with the dollars. Taking care of something I rent is as important as taking care of something that I own. My hotel room is to be given the same respect and attention as my home.

These commands from Jesus are about telling the truth too. I cannot please Him with fibs or white lies, for He knows that a heart willing to compromise on the smallest issue will eventually betray truth on more important matters. Since Satan is called a liar and the father of lies, I don’t want to be in the same camp or even on the fringes. Since Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6), I want to stand with Him in that place and be part of what He is, faithfully representing Him.

Actually, this is what being a Christian is about. He lives in me and by obeying Him, I allow others to see what He is like. If I’m doing it from the heart and with all that is in me, then I’m not particularly conscious of myself or what is happening except that I’m devoted to Him and do not care about covering, misrepresenting, or protecting myself with lies. I will not care about wealth for I know that all things are His and He will take care of my needs. I will be faithful with everything, knowing that I am a steward not an owner and every man’s goods really belong to God. In other words, I will not hide the reality of Jesus Christ by my selfishness or self-centered concerns.
Obedience is about loving God. My devotion to Him is not measured by my piety, the way I worship, church attendance, or mere talk. It is always measured by how I respond to His commands.

During a vacation, most issues seem like little things and it is easy to fall into a “so what” attitude, thinking not much matters because, after all, we are on vacation. However, You remind me that this also is a test. Will I be faithful even when it seems things do not matter or are not very important? Lord, help me to be alert and filled with Your Spirit, even to remain black and white about thing kind of behavior and attitudes You want from me, whether I’m sitting beside the pool or doing something more significant.

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