"Good Angels, Bad Devils"
June 12, 2014
And He (Jesus) said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37-39
In 1942, Walt Disney won an Academy Award for his cartoon, Lend a Paw.
That animation showed Mickey's dog, Pluto, caught up in an argument between a good angel and a bad devil. To make a short story shorter, the good angel won.
Apparently, the same thing can happen in real life. Need proof? Then go and talk to Joe Cornell. Speaking of a recent event in his life, Cornell says, "Everything was going through my mind: the good angel, the bad devil thing, what to do?"
To understand Cornell's internal conflict, I have to give you a bit of background. Fifty-two-year-old Cornell is in the Salvation Army's substance abuse rehabilitation program. Part of his work includes repairing trailers, which have been donated to the organization. At any rate, Cornell noticed that when a Brinks armored truck pulled away from a red light in Fresno, it left a sack behind.
Cornell picked up the bag, took a peek, and saw that sack was filled with money: about $125,000 in cash. He says, "I started crying and shaking ... What to do?" That was when he remembered he was going to be a grandpa soon. He asked himself, "What would I want her to think of me? That made up my mind right there. I called my boss and said, 'Hey, I found a bag of money!'"
Brinks was grateful when the cash was turned in. They were $5,000 grateful to Joe and $5,000 grateful to the Salvation Army. I should think they would be.
Now I'm pleased to share such a neat story with you. It's nice when everything turns out good and everybody is happy. That was all made possible because of Cornell's question, "What would I want her (my granddaughter) to think of me?"
I wonder how much better off the world would be if every individual asked, "What will they think of me if I cut them off in traffic?" "What will they think of me if I use foul language?" "What will they think of me if I steal from my employer?" To those questions the Christian would add, "What will my church and the unbelievers around me think? What will my Lord think?"
That last one is the most important, isn't it?
Now you and I know it's impossible to please everybody. Christians also know if they are going to love the Savior who has redeemed them, they are not going to please the world. No, we can't please everybody, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do our best to live for the Lord.
And if you don't know how to do that, the Savior tells us to love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Easy to say, hard for sinners -- even saved sinners -- to do. Even so, we can try. We can try to live in a way that glorifies God and shows His importance to those around us.
And if every Christian did that, this world really would be changed.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that Jesus has rescued my soul from damnation. May I show my gratitude by living a life that glorifies and pleases Him. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries