The morning walk was painful today. As we traveled our usual path, we came upon a home that had their door wide open. When we got close, the owner’s dog came flying out of the doorway. My dogs pulled on the double leash in such a way that my previously injured hand had pain shoot through. This caused me to scream so loud, I’m sure some of my neighbor’s awoke. It was so loud, it frightened the approaching dog, who turned tail and ran home. If I myself wasn’t screaming, I would have likely jumped in the air hearing such a loud scream.
I was frustrated, not only because my hand and wrist were once again feeling serious pain, but also because I had previous discussions with the home owner. The owner said, “My dog won’t do anything bad.” I guess the owner means their dog won’t bite my dogs. Nonetheless, dogs are unpredictable when approaching other dogs and people. There is never a guarantee. Just like humans, not all dogs like every dog they meet. As well, the owner was only thinking of themselves and their dogs. What about my dogs? Max was very anxious for the rest of the walk. What about my hand?!? It still is bothering me as I type. We rarely see the other side of things.
Sadly, we are all self-centered. We look out for ourselves. We never consider how our actions could affect others. When we make choices, we make choices considering what is best for us. Today, remember that we are commanded to look out for the best interests of others. We are supposed to want the best for our brothers and sisters. Be intentional with your focus today. Ask how your actions will affect those around you. Seek out what is best for those God brings along your path. Watch how God moves when you intentionally focus on the best interest of others.
“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”. – Philippians 2:4 [NLT]
As I was reading about Lot and his journey from sinful Sodom, I couldn’t help but note the interesting plea Lot made to his escorts who led him away from the area. God was destroying Sodom. Because of Abraham, Lot was saved. As he and his family were exiting, Lot’s wife looked back and lost her life. The group traveling onward included Lot and his two daughters.
As they continue onward, rather than go where he was being led, Lot begs to go to Zoar. He sees this small village. It’s nearby. It seems like an easier place to stop and find shelter. Instead of going onward, separating himself further from Sodom, he asks to remain in this “small village nearby.” But then what happens? Not so much further along in the text, we read that he “left Zoar because he was afraid of the people there.” He begged to be somewhere and yet had to leave in fear.
Imagine where he may have been led. Imagine if he would have not begged to stay in this small nearby village. We often think our plans are best. When we get an idea in our head, that’s what we want. God has something better. Perhaps we want the small village but He wants to bless us with a larger one. Perhaps we want a small thing, but He has something much bigger in mind. Today, look at the nearby villages you continue to beg for God to provide. Consider He might have something else for you. Consider the moments you drag your feet to stay near where you already are, and the possibility that God wants to move you further then you ever imagined.
“’See, there is a small village nearby. Please let me go there instead; don’t you see how small it is? Then my life will be saved’… Afterward Lot left Zoar because he was afraid of the people there, and he went to live in a cave in the mountains with his two daughters. – Genesis 19:20, 30 [NLT]
We can all be a little self-centered. We can all get lazy due to over-exhaustion. There are moments when we do not feel like doing something. Today’s passage tells us not to without good from someone who deserves it. If it is in our power to help a person who deserves something, we are not to withhold it. But is that always the case? Do we always provide good help to others? Are we always there for others?
When it is time to collect for a food drive, do we go out and buy things that we eat or do we get something that we would never consume? I’ve seen some disgusting things in the collection box. When we are donating clothing, do we donate clothing that is usable or things that should be tossed in the trash? There are moments in our lives when we are able to do so much more, when it is in our power to do so much, but we only give a little.
Today let us consider where we are withholding good. Where can we help more? Where can we do more? Do not withhold good from those who deserve it. It’s in your power to help them. It’s your choice.
“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.” – Proverbs 3:27 [NLT]
Saul did not follow what the Lord had commanded. Samuel told Saul that the kingdom would be taken from him as a result of his disobedience. Saul was hoping that he could get his status to change and as Samuel turned to leave, he reached out and grabbed at Samuel’s robe which ended up tearing. Samuel then told Saul that God doesn’t lie and He will not change His mind. He is not human!
We are all self-centered to a degree. When we are born we have a long period of time where it is all about self gratification. Then we go through a “me phase.” The toys are “mine.” We get older but things do not change where we are suddenly all focused elsewhere and not on self. When there is a group photo taken of your class, your family, your team—who do you look for on that photo? You look for you. In the same way, as you read a book, you have YOUR own perspective that you have while reading. We relate to books about things that we are interested in—things that mean something to us. If I was given a book on auto mechanics or a book on crocheting, I would not even open the book. I would donate it to the library and never see it again.
There is a danger when we consider God as a human. Yes Jesus walked the earth as a human; however, we need to be cautious when we are reading Scripture and when we were going about life, that we do not consider God as a human. There is a tendency to want to consider Him like us. If we can make Him like us—we can change His mind to do what we want Him to do for us.
“And he who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will he change his mind, for he is not human that he should change his mind!” – 1 Samuel 15:29 [NLT]