Tuesday, February 3, 2015
I heard this story many years ago: A young man walked into a convenience store and asked the manager if they had a pay phone. He pointed to the corner where the phone was, which happened to be in the area where the manager was about to sweep. The young man dropped the coins into the slot and when they answered on the other line, he said in the deepest voice he could produce, “Uh, sir, could you use an honest, hardworking young man to work for you?” After a brief moment, he said, “Oh, you already have an honest, hardworking young man working for you? Well, okay, thanks just the same.” When he hung up the phone, he left humming a tune and with a broad grin on his face. The manager of the store called out to him, "Hey, just a minute! I couldn't help but hear your conversation. Why are you so happy? I thought the guy said he already had somebody and didn't need you?" The young man smiled. "Well, you see, I am the honest, hardworking young man. I was just checking up on my job!"
Obviously, to this young man, what others thought about him was important. So often, we hear many people boast that they couldn’t care less what others think or say about them. Unfortunately, we’ve also heard these words coming from the lips of many who profess to be Christians. In most of these cases, I perceive it is just a copout or another way for people to justify themselves for any inconsistencies in their lives or to have others believe it is no big deal. Peter gave this sobering advice in his first epistle to the church: “Be happy if you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God will come upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people's affairs.” (1 Peter 4:14-15 NLT) Paul added this advice in 1 Corinthians 11:31, “But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.” Simply put, it means we should put our own lives under the microscope, so to speak, asking God’s help in the process to correct those things that are amiss and not wait till others point out our mistakes.
It has been proven time and again, and you have probably experienced it yourself, that we can be criticized even when we think we are doing right. Nevertheless, if and when it happens, it is not an excuse for us to give up on trying to live the right way. Our reputations are important enough that they may one day be the deciding factor in someone’s life in determining if they will pursue a life in Christ or forget about it altogether. If others continue saying unkind and unflattering things about us, should we care? Yes! Yes we should!
Memory verse for the week: (2 Timothy 2:24) “And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”