If we consider our lives, we could say that there are some things we neglect. Some people neglect their health. Some people neglect their children. Some people may neglect their pets. Some people may neglect their work obligations. Some people may neglect their household maintenance. Some people may neglect their appearance. Some people may neglect their family. Some people may neglect their finances. The list goes on and on.
Remember when the Israelites decided to bring the Ark of God into battle so that they could win the battle (so they thought)? Then the Ark was captured and for a long time it was not with the Israelites. This was the Ark of the Lord, the Ark that the people of Israel used to communicate with God. The same Ark that contained the jar of manna that was preserved, the Ten Commandments, as well as Aaron’s rod. So David spoke up and told the people of Israel that it was time to bring the Ark of the Lord back. “We neglected it during the reign of Saul,” he said.
Neglected it. This also could be interpreted as “ignored” or did not “seek,” “inquire,” or “consult.” These words are all listed in various translations. Today I want you to consider what you neglect—what you ignore. First and foremost, consider your relationship with God. Do you neglect it? Do you seek Him? Do you consult Him? Has it been awhile?
“It is time to bring back the Ark of our God, for we neglected it during the reign of Saul.” – 1 Chronicles 13:3 [NLT]
This morning it was drizzling but I still faithfully took my dog for a walk. As we continued up the street, I noticed that there was a newspaper that was poking through the plastic covering that the delivery person used for protection. In a quick moment, I passed by thinking that the newspaper would get all wet and perhaps I should pick it up and put it under the safety of the porch roof. But instead, I did nothing. I left it where it was and made excuses as to why I could not do that simple act. As I was a few blocks away, I started to feel regretful for not taking the opportunity that was right before me. It was a simple act of love that did not happen.
I think that too often there are opportunities presented to you and I, and I personally know that there are times in my life when I make excuses to not take action. I have heard many excuses as to why help cannot be given to someone, to the church, to a family in need, to a cause. Though this world is a hectic place and our schedules get busy, I think of how Jesus was walking toward one person when another person came in need of help. The lady reached out and touched His garment, and although He was on His way to pay a visit to the daughter of Jairus, He stopped and spoke to this woman (Mark 5). I remember how even after He was teaching at Capernaum and most likely tired from a busy day, He went back to Peter’s house to settle, only to still continue healing and reaching out to help others (Mark 1).
We will not always reach out. We will find ourselves making excuses. We will say we are too tired, too overwhelmed, too busy, too focused elsewhere, too unworthy, too untrained, too afraid. The list could go on and on with excuses I’ve given or heard. Thank God that He never makes excuses.
Today I encourage you to be the person who puts the newspaper on the porch. I pray that when you notice that you are making excuses for something that you can easily do before you walk away so that later you won’t be feeling guilty that you did not do more. Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
“Do not neglect to do what is good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” – Hebrews 13:16 [ESV]