February 28, 2013
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Laura King's three children were given a free ice cream for dessert.
Now I know that may not sound like a newsworthy topic to many of our Daily Devotion readers. Even so, I hope you will listen to what I think is an interesting story.
The tale begins when Laura King took her three children, ages two, three and eight, to the Sogno di Vino Restaurant in Poulsbo, Washington. The family ate their meal, paid their bill, and went home.
It was only when she was at her house that King noticed the bill wasn't exactly what it should have been. No, she hadn't been overcharged. On the contrary, the bill was $4 less than she expected. A handwritten note on the receipt explained why.
It said, "Discount. Well-behaved kids."
Rob Scott, the restaurant's owner, says servers have the discretion to offer a discount to customers. In this case the servers were incredibly impressed with the manners of the three children. Mrs. King is flattered, but she says, "The children only used the same manners they use at their home supper table."
That's the story of some free ice cream.
And now the point: You know, most of the time, most of us think of ourselves as being pretty good Christians. Recognizing we have been rescued from hell through the Savior's sacrifice, we try to glorify Him by making sure we walk the straight and narrow. Some of us like the straight and narrow so much we keep watch to make sure everyone else is walking as straight and narrow as we.
When the folks we are observing wander off that straight and narrow, we may pray for them, we may speak to them and, sad to say, sometimes we gossip about them. But this devotion is not about what we do when people go astray.
This devotion is about what we do when people are doing good, when they are walking right down the middle of God's straight and narrow path. What do we do then? Well, my friends, I can't speak for you, but I have to confess 95 times out of a 100, I don't do anything.
And that's sad.
It's sad that many of us often ignore Paul's words about encouraging and building each other up. It's tragic we spend far more time criticizing rather than complimenting. It's distressing that the staff at Sogno di Vino are more encouraging than I have been.
Thankfully, this is a shortcoming that can be easily remedied. All we need do is see the good others are doing and thank them for it -- and maybe buy them a $4 ice cream.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, today I pray my life may glorify the Savior, who gave Himself for my salvation. May I not only do what is right, may I also encourage others, as they struggle against the burdens and temptations a sinful world places before them. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries