December 1, 2016
Do I Really Have To?
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. (James 4:17 NIV)
Friend to Friend
Sometimes doing the right thing is hard. Case in point…
My husband asked if I could run to pick up his dry cleaning while he was on a conference call for work. Sure. So I drove across town, paid, grabbed what they gave me, and then headed home.
“Are my suit pants cleaned too?” Brad asked when I brought the dry cleaning in the house.
“I’m sure they are, honey. I remember seeing them in the bag when I dropped them off.”
I checked. No suit pants.
“There are only shirts here, Brad, but I do remember there being a dark pair of pants in there last week when you gave me the bag!”
“I definitely had pants in there,” he replied. “Can you please call the dry cleaners and find out where they are?”
“Hello, mister dry cleaner man. When I dropped my husband’s clothes off last Wednesday there was a pair of suit pants in the bag. I just picked up his laundry a little bit ago and the pants are not with his order. Can you please check on those?”
“Mrs. Smith, our records show that we took in 18 shirts, but no pants. I’m sorry.” He said matter-of-factly.
“Sir,” I responded as my pulse began to rise, “My husband and I both remember there being a pair of his suit pants in the bag when I dropped it off on Wednesday. There must be a mistake and we need to figure this out. Are there any pants around your store that are unaccounted for? The missing suit pants are navy with a thin blue pinstripe.”
“Ma’am,” he began with an abrasive, defensive edge, “we don’t have pants just‘lying around.’ We only took in 18 shirts. Beyond that, I don’t know what to tell you. People think they drop things off all the time, but we very rarely ever lose anything.”
I was more than agitated at this point. “Well, sir, what I know is this: my husband and I both remember his suit pants being in the bag that I dropped off to you last Wednesday. He can’t wear a suit without pants. This is pretty important. Can you please take my number and call us if and when you find them?”
“Yep. I have your number.” Then he finished with this smug gem, “I don’t expect them to show up, but will call you if they do.”
“Great. Thanks.” Click.
I was in a tizzy. Brad and I began to discuss the fact that we both knew his pants were in the bag… and then a thought came to my mind … which took me to the garage. And there, on the floor behind my drivers seat were his navy, pinstriped suit pants. Still dirty and blending in with the dark floor carpet of my car. Ugh! I walked back in the house and updated Brad.
“Do you think you should call and let the dry cleaner know that you found them?” He asked.
Inside I knew I should, but didn’t want to.
“No. I don’t want to. I don’t like him.” I replied childishly.
Almost instantly the Word of God convicted me. “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (James 4:17)
Doggone it. I have to call him back.
I reluctantly dialed the number again.
“Hello! Dry cleaning company, how can I help you?”
“Hi. We talked a few minutes ago about my husband’s suit pants, and I am calling back to let you know that I found them in the back floor of my car. They must’ve fallen out of the bag. I’m sorry.”
His voice softened. “Well, thanks for calling back. Most people wouldn’t do that. I appreciate it. Have a good day.”
My brow was still furrowed when I hung up. No halo hovered above my head and my grumpy ‘tude still had a grip on me. Taking that step of obedience meant swallowing my pride and I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to do it. But I know it was required in response to my love for Christ.
Why is it sometimes hard for me to do the right thing?
Why is it hard to WANT to do the right thing sometimes?
I ponder the questions, yet know the answer: because on my own, I’m stubborn and self-seeking. Thankfully, by grace God’s Spirit works within to lead, correct, and guide.
Obedience is a constant battle: my will versus God’s will. It’s a battle that can only be won by surrendering. Jesus said that if we love Him, we will obey Him. (John 14:15, 21,23) Even when and if we don’t want to.
Where does this find you today? Is there anything that you know you should do, but haven’t done?
Dear Lord, Thank you for loving me even when I’m less than lovable. Please lead me in Your ways, refine my stubborn heart, and help me do the good You call me to do.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read John 14. This is a conversation Jesus had with His disciples on the night He was betrayed. Jesus made many bold statements here. Which verses stood out to you today? What is your personal takeaway or challenge? Post your response or a prayer on my blog wall where we meet to encourage and pray for each other regularly.
More from the Girlfriends
Gwen Smith is a speaker, worship leader, songwriter, and author of the new book, I Want I ALL, which includes a Bible Study Guide right in the back of the book; no extra purchase required! You will love that it’s easy to read yet contains compelling and challenging content. You'll connect with the stories, probably dust off a few heart dreams, think bigger thoughts of God, laugh and smile a lot, search your soul, and even cry a little ... because each page lovingly directs you to the personal grace and truth of JESUS. (Get a FREE Downloadable “I Want It All” COLORING and JOURNAL book that’s the perfect companion to the book when you sign up to receive her blog!)
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Originally published Thursday, 01 December 2016.