This fine hushed morning entered my waking like all others — definite, dark and coaxing me toward consciousness. Slowing me into savoring it, the dawn crawled along, which is always the best kind. The day would come soon enough and quiet time is a rare gift. I took a deep breath, enjoyed and listened.
The clock soon caught my attention. My day began. I stepped through my routine as always. The time came to get the newspaper and only one of two had arrived. I moved on to breakfast, reasoning it would be there before my departure. Checking afterward, the paper still had not come. I thought, “I’ll read the paper that’s delivered at work.” Reading it does not take long and there should be a good moment to satisfy my intent.
Arriving at work, I exited my car and walked toward the building. Unlocking the door and turning off the alarm triggered the routine that followed. Work’s morning drill is like a golf swing — one uninterrupted, smooth motion … if it goes well. But this day had its own idea. The phone rang and this meant attending to a customer. Early morning staff needed input as well and now my orderliness found tangents more impatient for my attention. Hours passed. The day progressed. Lost was my intent to read the newspaper.
Intent is a charmer; Hell’s best roadbuilder, they say. I’ve heard evil is the absence of good and if true, good intentions have an admirable truancy record.
Now, allow me to venture a thought, a suggestion our faith is the same. Like a good book finished, faith and good intentions can be placed on the shelf, showpieces for who we believe we are and wish for others to see, a very good feeling without action. This very column convicts me. For if I write good words and do not live them and even act on them, my words are but whispers in the wind.
Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 12:14, “God will bring every work into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”
Every Christian comes to the same crossroad, a decision to move on from those good feelings and intentions to living in God’s presence, listening to Him daily, loving neighbor and enemy as God loves both while risking all the pain and unworthiness that accompanies the effort.
Solomon instructs us: “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good” (Ecclesiastes 11:6).
Ours is a simple task. Meet God every morning, say the kind word, lend the helping hand, feed the poor and hungry, submit your talents obediently to God and do all in the spirit of our Lord. But do it.
I should think God has every good intention to convict me.
All that good on the shelf is no good at all.
“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15, NKJV).