Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 8:17 – For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. (NIV)
As I walked along with my dog, Sparky, during the January thaw, I couldn't help but notice how dirty the street was. Apparently, a lot of people do not bother to pick up after their dogs, and that angers me. There is absolutely no excuse for such disgusting laziness. Bits of garbage fallen out of the recycling boxes, wrappers from chocolate bars and gum, cigarette butts, and other such litter added to the disgusting sight. It makes me wonder if the people who caused this mess are as careless in their own personal lives. I'm sure that they wouldn't do this if they thought anyone were watching, which only adds to my disgust.
The previous week, this same street had been beautiful, covered in a pristine blanket of white. Snow-covered evergreens, combined with the quiet hush of falling snow, made walking here a pleasure. It was hard to believe that it was the same street. It seems that God gives us beautiful sights to enjoy, and man, through his careless actions, can so easily destroy them.
This comparison caused me to think about the kinds of lives that people live — in particular, the kind of life that I live when I think that no one is looking or listening. If people could read my thoughts and my private actions were disclosed, how would I feel? Would I be proud of them, or would I be glad and even relieved that they were invisible to others?
Even more importantly, would God be proud of me? I am sure that unkind words and critical thoughts, even unspoken, are far worse in the eyes of God than littered streets.
When I come to stand before my Lord on judgement day, will He say, "Well done, good and faithful servant"? Or will He ask, "Why did you complain so much when you consider all the blessings that I have given you?" He might go on to ask, "Did you share with that needy neighbour who mentioned that she was having a hard time making ends meet? Did you offer to drive that other neighbour to a doctor's appointment when her car broke down? And in this particular situation, did it occur to you to carry a trash bag with you, and pick up some of the litter, instead of getting upset and complaining about it?"
As I pondered these thoughts, I felt very humbled. I knew that, as a child of God, I had no right to judge, because the Word clearly states, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." (Matthew 7:1 NIV)
This incident brought very vividly to mind that we as His children should always try to please and honour Him in all that we do, say, and think, both in private and in public, even when it's as simple a matter as absent-mindedly tossing a chocolate bar wrapper on the ground, or returning a shopping cart to the storage rack. We are accountable to our God, and we know that our actions speak far more loudly than our words. We never know who might be watching or listening in order to see if we practice what we preach.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for Your never-failing love, and for reminding us to pass it along, instead of judging and complaining. Live in us through Your Holy Spirit, and enable us to display a Christ-like character. Amen.