It’s been months since I made the mistake. So why did I wake up thinking about it today?
That’s how God gives blog nudges and authors a message to teach.
The problem with this one is that I have to be my own illustration.
I only needed a few things
It’s been months since I made that quick trip to the grocery store. I don’t usually shop in that store, even though it’s close to my house. It’s just not as “nice” as some of the others. But, I only needed a few things, and I was in a hurry.
I grabbed one of those plastic baskets they stack by the door. The handle was sticky and I thought, “Yuck . . . I can’t wait to get home and wash my hands.”
I quickly ran through my list of “needs” and decided to grab a dozen eggs as well. I went to the back of the store, hoping they would have the brand I like to buy.
As I approached the refrigerator, I saw a woman moving small, cheaper eggs into the carton of the brand I like to buy. One by one, she exchanged those cheaper eggs for the better, more expensive eggs.
I watched her do it, and so did her young daughter, who was sitting in the basket.
I was appalled at her actions and she knew it. Yet, she just smiled at me and continued to steal. No remorse, no change in her behavior.
A few minutes later, I told a manager about it.
She just smiled and shook her head. “You can’t imagine what we see happen in this store.”
No remorse, no change
So why did I wake up thinking about that experience today?
It was only a moment in my life and it took place months ago. A woman did something wrong. She stole with no remorse and no change in her actions.
Has she done the same thing over and over again these past months? Maybe, but that isn’t the point.
God didn’t wake me up with these thoughts so I could point out her sin. It was my sin that the Lord wanted me to fix.
The woman stealing eggs had no remorse and made no change. She continued to steal eggs.
The woman watching her, me, has remorse this morning. And the Lord told me I needed to change.
I should have helped her switch the eggs back, and then I should have bought her the good eggs. I blew it and I know it. And I’m supposed to confess that in this blog post—for my sake and, possibly, yours.
This morning, months later, God reminded me of my sin and gave me the chance to repent of it. Maybe, if I had done the right thing months ago, it might have helped that woman want to do better as well. And it would have been a good witness to her young daughter.
I should have helped—but I didn’t. I just watched with righteous indignation.
Maybe this blog post is my Romans 8:28 for a past mistake. It’s the first verse I ever memorized, and it’s the verse God gave me again this morning. That verse says, “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
God’s in the business of redeeming our mistakes into something good. This morning, I’m writing a blog post because I believe it’s his purpose, born from my mistake.
The Salvation Army’s best practices for our days ahead
Most organizations have a “best practices” policy. Merriam-Webster’s defines the term as “a procedure that has been shown by research and experience to produce optimal results.”
We can implement a best-practices policy for the days ahead. I’m adopting the message the Salvation Army has used in their work. Their motto is “Doing the most good.”
The core value of the Army’s mission is “to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name without discrimination.” Their website states, “Faith gives us the motivation that goes beyond simply doing good. We have a passion for doing the most good for body, soul and spirit.”
The Salvation Army’s best practices are not simply to “do good” but, instead, they want to do “the most good.”
That’s a best practice every Christian should adopt.
Paul, Oswald Chambers, and us
I’m spending this year teaching 1 and 2 Corinthians. In other words, I’ve been spending a lot of time with the Apostle Paul.
In his early years, Paul condemned Christians and passionately pursued them, hoping to throw them in prison. The road to Damascus changed everything. His passion for what he believed was right became his passion for doing what God told him was right. He began to live redeemed, and his calling was for God’s purpose.
Oswald Chambers wrote the content for his famous devotional, My Utmost For His Highest. The devotional was actually written after his death, by his widow. She wrote each day’s entry from messages her beloved husband had preached to seminary students.
The title for the book came from a message to the students about the need to sacrifice anything for the sake of their ministry. Oswald spoke from Paul’s words to the Philippians: “It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20).
Oswald Chambers told those students, who had chosen vocational ministry, “When we consider what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He does not know what our obedience will mean. Keep to the point; He does know. Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only — ‘My Utmost for His Highest.’ I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and for Him alone.”
Oswald Chambers thought he was preaching a message to students that day. He had no idea that millions of millions would be blessed by his words for decades to come.
Do the most good
“My utmost for his highest.”
“Do the most good.”
“I will not be ashamed, but with full courage . . . Christ will be honored.”
Personal remorse, redeemed for God’s holy purpose, will do good and fulfill God’s purpose. That’s my hope for this week’s blog post.
How will you be your utmost for his highest?
How can all of us do the most good with the opportunities before us?
I know this: next time, I will speak up, try to help, and buy her eggs. I passed judgment when God wanted me to give kindness. But I’ve felt remorse and will make a change.
I’m adopting the best practices of Paul, Oswald Chambers, the Salvation Army, and countless others who live holy lives for God’s glory.
My prayer today: Wherever she is, Lord, bless her life and her daughter’s. And please, Lord, give me, or one of my readers, another chance to help. You make all things good . . . if we just live for your purpose. Thank you for second chances. I pray my weakness will lead others to a place of strength.
For your glory, Lord.