On Caring for the Property more
On a comfy, spring afternoon, walking along pathways that lead between city and country, among suburbia and cultivated fields, I passed by a sprawling property, the house and gardens of the local landowner. I could see that the trees got remained unpruned, the fact that ground had gone untended, that the fences all-around were sagging plus broken down. I noticed the sign with the road that marketed the owner’s company: Landscape & Maintenance. I paused to consider, I stopped to meditate until I would receive instruction.
And then it came: A man is not probably a skillful or even faithful keeper from the property of others who not keep his own. The mechanic in whose car never runs is not to be trusted to maintain mine, who owns a broken-down home is not a good candidate to carry out renovations by myself, the landscaper who also can’t be troubled caring for his home lacks the credibility to tend to the lawn and backyards.
We may quickly spot such incongruencies in the lives and vocations of others, but it can be difficult to spot all of them in our own. Sin, after all, is deceitful. Bad thing obscures the truth, this blinds us to our own flaws, this persuades us that will vice is virtue and virtue vice. There is certainly some of the hypocrite in each of us, some degree of blindness, some measure of unwillingness to see and know the reality.
Little wonder, then, that David’s prayer was “Search me, God, and know my heart; check me and understand my anxious ideas. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. ” Or, another period, “Prove me, U LORD, and consider me; test the heart and the mind. ” This kind of prayers should be frequently on our tongues. We ought to earnestly plead that will God would expose what we obscure, that he would persuade all of us of what we might otherwise deny. “Search me, God, and show me. ”
God will answer that prayer. He may answer it from the inner conviction of the Holy Spirit. A specific passage of Scripture may come to mind, and even just a dawning awareness of the awfulness of a certain sin or a particular pattern of sin. Or perhaps on a Weekend you’ll be persuaded that the application part of the sermon has been prepared with just you in mind. Our creator works in mysterious ways. Jesus mentioned it was better for us if he would go away and the Spirit would certainly come—better because now the Spirit dwells within each of us to carry out that work associated with sanctification from the inside out. “When the Spirit associated with truth comes, he can guide you into all of the truth. ” He or she does, indeed. The almighty loves to answer our prayers by his Spirit, through their Word.
He may also answer that prayer through the mouths of people. One of the delights of being in fellowship with Christians may be the knowledge that others have eyes on us, that other people can identify what we should fail to see or what we refuse to acknowledge. One of the joys of having Christian friends can be knowing they are so much on our side that they will broach the difficult subjects, that they will speak the particular difficult truths. The distinguishing mark of the true friend is the willingness to talk into another person’s life, even when doing so risks hurt. And on the flip part, an evidence of Christian character is not only the particular willingness to hear such hard words, but the desire to. Far greater compared to our desire to like the eyes of others should be our desire to look like Christ.
And so we normally do well to hope that God might reveal what we have to know to be perfectly conformed to the image of his Son, to pray that he would let us see ourselves by means of his eyes, to teach us inwardly or outwardly. “Lead me in your truth and teach me, ” we pray, “for you are the God of my salvation. ”
(Inspired by Matthew Henry’s commentary upon Acts 20. )