Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Devotion: What if He Sat Beside Me?

What if He Sat Beside Me?

Jesus went over to the collection box in the Temple and sat and watched as the crowds dropped in their money -- Mark 12:41a; New Living Translation

Once I lent a young person my car. I instructed him to drive carefully and take good care of my vehicle. He assured me that he would. Later that day, while riding with a friend, I saw the young man "burning rubber" on my car. When I confronted the youth about the incident, in utter disbelief, he asked "How did you know?" I told him. I was tempted to never let that kid drive my car again, but I relented. The next time he borrowed it, I told him to imagine that the whole time he was driving my car that I was sitting right beside him.

Today's Scripture: During the week of Jesus crucifixion, He spent His time in and around Jerusalem. At one point, He spent some time in the Temple watching people make monetary offerings. Rich people, seeking to be very conspicuous, dropped large amounts of money in to the offering boxes. Then a very poor widow comes and gives all she has, which was roughly the equivalent of two cents. Jesus considered this a greater gift than the large amount of money because she gave it freely and it cost her something. Any gift offered with reluctance or for the sake of recognition losses its value.

Like the youth driving my car, I wonder how we'd make our offerings were Jesus sitting beside us. Granted, many folks did not realize that the Jesus that watched them make offerings that day was to be the Savior of the entire human race. If they had known that God Himself sat before them in the flesh, they may have offered differently.

But wait...raise your hand if you believe God is sovereign. If we believe that, then it is easy to recognize that though He may not be in the pew beside us when we offer He still knows our gift and the intent behind it.

What if we lived all of our lives like God was sitting beside us? A dear friend told me that he would not put the Christian fish on his car because he was so ashamed of his driving at times that he would not want people to know that he was a Christian and driving in such a manner. What if we sat on our couches, surfing the channels, with Jesus on the sit next to us? Would we linger on the same channels? Would we work at our jobs in the same manner if Jesus was our coworker? Would we shrug off telemarketers in the same way if Jesus was privy to our phone conversations?

Now I don't mean to regulate Jesus to a glorified babysitter. I pray we all realize that though God is not sitting in the chair beside us, or passing the offering plate to us, or working along side us at our jobs, He is aware of what we do and with what intention we do it.

We can fool some of the people some of the time, but God none of the time. Today...what would you have done or thought differently if God had been next to you?

Grace and peace to you from God the Father and Jesus the Son,
Tim Bowes
Romans 12:1-2

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