February 21, 2010
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Some people I know do the right thing . . . almost.
That was brought home to me this past week when a friend in the insurance industry told me of a lady who received $1,200 to compensate her for the loss of her diamond ring. Not unsurprisingly, four weeks later she found the missing ring stashed away in the back of a cupboard.
Glad for the ring, she wrote to the insurance company and confessed, "I didn't think it would be right for me to keep the ring and the money, so I thought you would be pleased to know I have sent the $1,200 to the Red Cross."
The lady had done the right thing . . . almost.
She hadn't kept the money. That was right, and she did tell the insurance company about finding the ring. That was right, too. But sending the money to the Red Cross . . . even as fine an organization as it might be, well, that was not quite right.
A lot of people try to do the right thing . . . almost. Over Christmas I watched my twin grandchildren who were squabbling and arguing. Finally, their mother stopped things and told them to apologize.
They shook hands. They said they were sorry. They did the right thing almost. You see, in spite of the hand shaking and the words, they weren't sorry. They were still angry.
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. Our selfishness and our natural propensity to sin guarantees we almost always miss the mark of doing the right thing.
This is why we need Jesus.
Why? Because He is the Son of God, Jesus did that which we could never do. He did the right thing always. If Jesus dealt with pompous Pharisees, He did the right thing. If He was speaking with a serious sinner, He did the right thing. If Satan placed before Him a tremendous set of temptations, Jesus still did the right thing.
Because Jesus did the right thing -- always -- at the end of His life, as He hung dying upon the cross, He could honestly say, "It is finished" (John 19:30b).
And it was. Jesus' perfect life, His total avoidance of sin had opened the door to heaven for all who believe on Him as their Father-sent Substitute and Savior.
Now you and I are still sinners, and our plans almost always fall short of the mark when we try to do the right thing. In spite of that failure, our lives should still be lived in thankfulness for what Jesus has given. It would be the right thing to do -- absolutely.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, You sent Your Son to do and be the perfect person we could never be. Now may we, redeemed by His complete fulfillment of the Law, thank and praise, serve and obey the risen Redeemer. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries