It was a long time ago. But it seems like only yesterday as the memory makes it fresh. It could only happen in the life of a preacher. It was Sunday evening and I was, as usual, leading worship from the pulpit. Sitting near the back of the sanctuary were my wife and our 3 darling young boys. All was going well. Until…
The congregation had just finished singing the hymn before the sermon. I said my typical, “You may be seated” and everyone sat down. Well almost everyone…
As everyone else sat down the youngest of those 3 darling young boys dashed away from his horrified mother and darted up the center aisle straight up the platform steps to his thoroughly surprised father. As my wife wanted to crawl under the pew and hide I had a quick decision to make: what to do? All eyes were on me, and all those eyes were from faces with huge smiles. Some were even chuckling. So I picked our son up, said “Hi” to him, told him to say “Hi” to the congregation, and then told him – politely of course – to go back to his seat in the pew. (Thank heavens we had a wonderful congregation who thought it was all so cute and wonderful!)
Following the service the obvious question for us was “Why?” What possessed our son to do that? While he denied it at the time, our other, older son – years later – admitted he had sent his little brother scampering up the aisle. So, in reality, it was really an act of obedience.
The whole experience, therefore, now points me to ponder my obedience level. How quickly do I obey God? How often do I jump at His commands and directions? Do I dash away from what I’m doing and dart down the road in obedience? Or do I delay, pausing to ponder the pros and cons, or perhaps to bargain with God? I shudder to think how often I’ve hit the pause button and delayed my obedience. True – delayed obedience is better than no obedience, but instant obedience is the best and most blessed. As Jesus said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey it…If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (Luke 11:28 & John 14:25)
How about you? Where has it been hard to obey? For what obedience are you currently hitting pause? Realize I’m not thinking so much about God’s grand calls to serve as I am about simply obeying His lifestyle commands. For example:
- Honor your father and your mother
- Love your neighbor as yourself
- Forgive as Christ has forgiven you
- Get rid of selfishness, jealousy, anger
- Show the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
- Get rid of anger
- Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up
- Be kind and compassionate
- Look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others
- Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything … present your requests to God
Certainly there’s much more, but these should be enough to assist in answering the questions: Where has it been hard to obey? For what obedience are you currently hitting pause? Are you ready to dash away from your pause and dart down the road to obedience? Dashing and darting truly is the way to live. It is, after all, an act of love which reaps great reward.
Do you want Jesus to be at home in and with you? Dash to obedience, even if it means running loose in church.