Matthew 7:12 - (Jesus said) "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."
Teenager Lauralie Mufute had been asked to sing the anthem at the New Jersey Devils' hockey game at the Prudential Center. In front of the crowd of more than 14,000 she began, and she did well, until she got to the line "through the perilous fight."
That's when her memory failed her.
She took a breath and began again, and her memory failed her again. But not to worry. That crowd had seen what had happened, and their hearts went out to her. That's why, when Mufute stopped the second time, some 14,000 fans were prepared to do the right thing. Without any kind of cue or coaching, all joined together to help her out.
Reports from those who were there said it was "the most amazing anthem I ever witnessed."
I have seen that same kind of sprit at a Christian congregation. I remember a Sunday morning when the pastor was standing before the altar ready to lead the congregation in prayer. His mind was not exactly where it should have been. He had mentally jumped forward in the service because when they brought the collection plates forward, the elder had handed him a list of five names which had to be added to various prayers that were coming up.
That is why his mind was on autopilot when he said, "Let us now join together in the prayer which the Savior has taught us: 'Come Lord, Jesus, be our Guest ...'"
Realizing what had just happened, the pastor immediately had four revelations. In order, they were
1. "I hear the congregation snickering rather than praying with me; that's not right";
2. "I have just made a very big mistake";
3. "How do I start over with dignity?";
4. "My congregation is not going to ever let me forget this."
He was right about number four. They never let him forget. Now that congregation could have said, "What kind of minister is it that doesn't know the Lord's Prayer? He is embarrassing us." Yes, they could have said that, but nobody did. But, whenever the opportunity presented itself, with a good-natured grin, they'd say, "Pastor Klaus, would you lead us in the Lord's Prayer? You do remember how it goes, don't you?"
There you have it: two stories, both of which illustrate how Jesus' Golden Rule has been applied.
The great tragedy is that the Golden Rule is not applied often enough. There are a lot of reasons for that. Sometimes people don't think of it; sometimes people are just plain nasty; other times it is a way to make them feel superior. Whatever the reason, it is not the way the Lord expects His people to show appreciation for the forgiveness and salvation He has won for them.
He knows the world is watching His people and judging Him by what they do. That's why He encourages another standard for our lives. And, by the way, so did Luther, when he said we "should put the best construction on everything."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, let us see people with eyes of love. Help us look past their mistakes and do all we can to glorify the Savior by building others up. This we ask into the Name of our crucified and ever-living Lord. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one carried by Michael Harthorne for Newser on October 21, 2017. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: click here. See also Jane Becker, October 21, 2017 - NY Daily News.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries