February 1, 2019
“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. 1 Corinthians 10:23,24
From Our “Here”…
Have you ever sat in a doctor’s or dentist’s lobby and thought you could use your phone or laptop to catch up on miscellaneous tasks while you waited? Usually there’s a kink in that plan—the ever-present TV is almost always on. Talk shows, court simulation shows, the occasional situation comedy with metronomic bursts of canned laughter—all intrude on the silence you prefer when trying to be productive.
Glance around at the other people waiting, and you’ll find most are trying to read a book or magazine. The TV is the 800-pound gorilla in the room no one talks about. You know they all hear it. Every now and then, someone glances up at it in glazed semi-interest.
You might be tempted to stand and ask if you can turn off the TV. Would anyone miss it? But you don’t. You keep sitting there pecking away at your phone or keyboard, trying to grasp the wisps of an idea threading through your brain while a portion of your mind is hijacked.
So here’s a question: What other “background noise” might compromise the quality of what you want to accomplish in life? And what about the things that you do and say? Are you creating unnecessary or even destructive background noise for others? What needs to happen in your life so you’re contributing to others’ lives rather than slowing them down or tripping them up?
…To God’s “There”
The apostle Paul never had to put up with an unwanted television, but he wrote to the Corinthian Christians about a host of life situations that can derail a believer from the best that God has for him or her. Some of the decisions we make connect with activities or circumstances that are not sinful in themselves but can be misunderstood by other people and create obstacles to their spiritual growth. In reality, how we point the lost to Jesus has much more to do with the many momentary choices we make than with our church attendance or Bible study or times of prayer.
That principle holds true with missionaries who proclaim the gospel to unreached people around the world. Missionaries carry out public ministry projects in local churches, Bible schools, clinics and other ministry centers. But their public reputation as Christians is really built upon the countless impressions people have of them in the midst of all their other everyday activities.
Making the Leap
If you are a follower of Christ, you are called by the Savior to take the good news to the lost. Whether God entrusts that responsibility to you within your neighborhood and at your job, or expands that responsibility to include a journey to the far side of the globe, you fulfill that task the same way—obediently going about your daily life under the direction of the Holy Spirit.