Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18
You know, sometimes we think that manners and chivalry are dead. A story which comes out of New Castle, Pennsylvania, says that's just not so.
Recently a man knocked at the door of a lady who lives in that town. Since she is in a wheelchair it took her a while to answer the knock. When she opened the inside door to see who was there, he pulled on the outside door, and broke the chain. No doubt, he thought he was trying to save her the inconvenience of getting up.
When the man told her he needed money, she gave him $5. The man then said, "That's not enough. I know you have more."
Apparently the woman had forgotten she had $20 in her purse. That's why the man pushed past her and helped himself to the cash. Of course, he did not do so without a polite apology. He said, "I'm sorry. I've never done this before. I'm desperate."
When the woman began to pray, the man, most respectfully, knelt down. When she was done, the man got up and ran away. It almost seems sad the police felt it necessary to arrest such a mannerly individual.
I hope the Daily Devotion readers will excuse my tongue-in-cheek reporting of that story. Both you and I know it doesn't make any difference if the man was polite, or if he prayed, or if he apologized. The bottom line is that thief broke into a lady's house, frightened her, and then took that which didn't belong to him.
In short, his words didn't support his actions.
Sadly, this is the same thing unbelievers say about many Christians.
They are pleased to point out that there is, quite often, a big gap between the words and the actions of many Christians. The words of John which serve as this day's text say it really wasn't any different back in his day.
That's why he urges his brothers and sisters in Christ to make sure their actions and their message support each other.
John knew, as every generation of Christians discovers, the world judges the Master by what His servants do. If the witness of our words harmonizes with our actions, the Savior, who gave Himself for us, is glorified. On the other hand, if we are inconsistent, people make the unfair assumption that Jesus' salvation story is hollow.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the Savior showed His love for us in word and deed. May we who have been redeemed by His holy, precious blood do our best to emulate Him. This we ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries