... For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. Romans 7:18b-20
On October 3, 1941, the Walt Disney studios put out a cartoon called Lend a Paw. In the cartoon, which won an Academy Award, Mickey's dog, Pluto, saves a kitten and later becomes jealous of the feline when his master takes it in. In the cartoon Pluto is constantly torn between the advice given by two angels: one good and one bad.
Plumber Alif Babul can understand.
Recently, he was remodeling a bathroom in Calgary when he saw a glimmery, copper-colored object on the floor where the tub had been. When he went to throw the object away, it seemed to be heavy. Actually, it was heavy -- like gold is heavy.
Babul had uncovered a one-kilogram gold bar worth somewhere around $50,000!
Now this is where the angels come in. The first angel said, "Nobody hides gold bars underneath their bathtub," and the second angel said, "It's not yours to keep." The first angel said, "Keep it!" The second angel said, "Give the gold back to the homeowners." The first angel said, "It might not even belong to them," and the second angel said, "You have to ask."
Well, Babul did ask and the homeowners admitted to having had a gold bar, but they didn't remember where they had hidden it. As far as they were concerned, it was gone.
So the good and the bad angels argued for some time. Babul even took the matter to a higher court: his wife. Finally, a decision was made. Babul said to her, "I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing, but it's the right thing to do." The gold was given back to the rightful owners and Babul, reflecting on his good action, has commented: "Seeing the economy the way it is right now, it kind of sucks that we had to give it back."
All in all, Babul is a pretty good representative of most of us.
That's because most of us, including St. Paul, find ourselves embroiled in events where we know what we're supposed to do but find it's hard to do that which is God pleasing and right. The good angel whispers, "Do what is right," and the bad angel shouts, "Who is going to know? Watch out for number one!"
The battle can be a long one -- both frustrating and painful.
Still, if we wish to honor the Savior who gave His life for our forgiveness and transformation, we really are limited in the path we ought to walk. In his particular battle, Babul said, "We had to give it back."
Ultimately, for him there was no choice.
And for us, if we are serious about our life of thanksgiving to Him who always did what was right for us, there is no choice either. As St. Peter said, "Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds ..." (1 Peter 2:11-12a).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, our path may not always be an easy one. Grant me the grace to have a faith that walks Your path, not the easy road. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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