Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Favoritism (02/28/05)
TITLE: Pick and Choose
By Kristy Cox
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
My favorite rooms win out, the bedroom is mine, the living room is bright and small and the library holds my favorite things – books!
With a sigh, I realize the Miscellaneous Category, including my writing and reading, my exercise and my bubble bath, have been pushed so far down the list it seems I will never get there.
“You may go to the ball IF you have all your chores done,” Self-Discipline says. Oddly, it sounds much like the stepmother’s voice in Cinderella.
As is so often the case, my acts of service to my family turn into perfunctory chores. Listlessly I dust the furniture. Without joy I wash more clothes. And heaven help the child who dares to spread her toys on the floor which has already been picked up and swept.
Between household and family obligations, I manage to mark things off my list with very little bloodshed.
The kids are bathed, the dishes are done, the bed-time struggle is over. The house is quiet and I am exhausted! What happened to my reward? What happened to my ball?
Well, to be honest, I kind of cheated a bit. I decided that dark, scary place under the couch didn’t need to be exposed until next week. I thought the kitchen floor was fine with a good sweeping, no one eats off the floor anyway. The library shelves were dusted in front only. Besides, why clean where no one sees?
Acts of service to God … you know, those commands … are similar to my ‘To Do’ list.
First, it is very common to pick and choose which commands we are going to obey. Choosing the right command for the day shows favoritism. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” (John 14:15 KJV) and again, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14 KJV).
Jesus didn’t say, “If you love me you will obey most of my commands,” or “the commands which suit you best for a Monday,” or “the commands which will make you popular with your friends.”
Jesus wants us to obey all his commands. He told us what would glorify his Father, and he told us what he expects us to do to accomplish that end. Jesus didn’t show favoritism when he died … why should we show favoritism about which of his commands we will obey?
Second, it is common for us to pick and choose the level of obedience we will give Christs’ commands. If someone is nice to me, then I can love my neighbor. If I have been faithful in Bible study this week, then I can say I love the Lord. Oh, and there’s the ever popular, I shared the gospel with someone today only because he asked me about it first. Or what about giving the glory to God, and making certain there are only Christians in the room.
We take God’s Grace and the gift of his Son for granted when we show favoritism toward his highest commands.
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:14 KJV)
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye many obtain,” (I Corinthians 9: 24 KJV)
These two verses pinpoint the reward of complete obedience: the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ – to be eternally in heaven with him – to be able to unabashedly say we obeyed him even when it was inconvenient, even when it hurt, even when the world looked at us like we were insane.
Because the price was already paid. We obey him in all things and we obey him completely, with no favoritism shown for the ‘easier’ commands.
And if we don’t … well, maybe we need to get rid of our Cinderella complexes and our Miscellaneous Categories. And perhaps, just perhaps … we will recognize the importance of all for the glory of God, instead of the importance of one for the glory of Self.
Favoritism? … Not at the foot of the cross.
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