January 10, 2012
(Jesus said) "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." Revelation 2:10
"The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley." That was the way Robert Burns said it. Me, I'm not that poetic. I prefer this: even when we try hard to do what is right, things can still get mightily messed up.
A cleaning woman at Dortmund, Germany's Ostwall Museum would agree. The zealous soul noticed something was wrong with a piece of artwork done by Martin Kippenberger. She spotted a major stain on the presentation, which is called, "When It Starts Dripping From the Ceiling." It's a presentation valued at $1.1 million.
Various news agencies describe the art as being made up of "wooden slats under which a rubber trough was placed with a thin beige layer of paint representing dried rain water."
Apparently, the cleaning lady thought the "dried rain water" was just that, and she cleaned it up. Conscientious soul that she is -- and in the best of German traditions -- she cleaned that spot until it was -- well, until it was spotless.
The curators of the museum say the piece is ruined beyond repair. And the cleaning woman? Well, I pray you will forgive me if I say her reputation remains ... spotless. (Sorry about that.)
But back to the point: most Daily Devotioners would agree there are times when their best intentions haven't always worked out the way they hoped, and almost all of us can think back on times when we tried to say or do something to help someone and our involvement was unapplauded and unappreciated.
So what is a person to do?
Many folks end up concluding the best thing for them to do is throw in the towel and never get involved with anything or anyone.
All of us can rejoice that Jesus, throughout His life, continued to do what was right and continued to follow the Father's will. This He did when the disciples didn't understand Him, when one of His friends betrayed Him, when His church condemned Him, and the people He had come to save called for His crucifixion.
Thank heaven He did because as Isaiah said, "by His stripes we are healed" (see Isaiah 53:5).
And so, my friends, let this devotion be an encouragement to you: continue on doing the best you can, whenever you can, to whomever you can, as often as you can. And try to do it with your work always being in harmony with the Father's will.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help us lead our lives glorifying You and not longing for the approval of humankind. This we ask in the Name of Jesus who did just that. In His Name we pray it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries