Since it takes time for the real consequences of our actions to show up, the emptiness of work that disregards God is not always apparent right now. But eventually the failure of godless activity will become clear. The wise are willing to be warned about this.
Even the most objective people among us need the benefit of external feedback, information from outside ourselves that can help us see if there are any adjustments we need to make in what we’re doing. But it takes humility to receive feedback.
What will we do with this ordinary day when nothing unusual will happen, no one will be looking, and there’ll be no particular reason to do our best except a desire to keep on serving our King? It’s days like today that are the true test of our love for God.
A commitment to reality is a good thing. Compared to what we sometimes wish to be real or prefer to be real, what is real is almost always more full of wonder. As Eudora Welty said, “The very greatest mystery is in unsheathed reality itself.”
“No man is so insignificant as to be sure his example can do no harm,” wrote Edward Hyde. It’s hard enough already for those around us to keep moving ahead. If we make it even harder for them by our example, we should expect God’s displeasure.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23,24). Such honesty before God is painful, but without it, there is no growth toward God.
The desire (often a very strong one) to break out of our routines and do something unplanned and unpredictable is not a bad desire. It must be managed with wisdom, admittedly, but there’s no denying that spontaneity can be a potent force for good in our lives.
It doesn’t do much good to simply say, “I know I need to be a better person.” Instead, we need to take an honest inventory of our personal traits on a regular basis and then make definite commitments to change our character, God being our Helper.