Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Outstanding (04/21/11)
TITLE: Things to Do
By Edmond Ng
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- "Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. (Matthew 5:23-24 NAS)
Take health screening for example. We know it is a good practice to have routine checkups at least once a year to ensure we are in good health, but we often choose not to go for the checkups until we fall ill. It may be because of inconvenience or the price, but for whatever the reason, the consequence can cost us much more should we discover too late a cure for our illness.
Consider now another scenario of a relative who is ill. We know we should be visiting the relative, but we sometimes choose to forget or ignore the fact because it is inconvenient, costly and time-consuming. Maybe it is because the relative is staying far away and to travel to his or her place costs much and takes up too much of our precious time. In such a situation, what would we do? Would we neglect to do what is right and bear the consequence of a possible lost soul?
In the days of Haggai the prophet, a similar situation was mentioned in the Bible of how a people neglected what ought to be done, resulting in the withholding of complete blessings. Haggai delivered the word of God to the children of Israel in exile and questioned as to whether it was right for them to dwell in paneled houses while the Temple of God was left in ruins (Haggai 1:2). Haggai warned the children of Israel to consider their ways (Haggai 1:5, 7), and told them why they have sown much, but harvest little, ate, but not enough to be satisfied—because the house of God was left desolate (Haggai 1:4-7, 9-11).
When we knowingly neglect to do the things that are outstanding and go on with our lives as if these things do not matter, we seldom can be at our best. We may do many things to make up for the negligence, but will eventually realize whatever we do is not worth the effort. We may work hard in the hope to prosper, but will receive little returns (Haggai 1:6, 9). The reason we seldom have enough is because we fail to remember what is more important—to do all things by first honoring God in our lives.
When we come before the Lord and remember something that needs to be attended to, what should we do? If that something is important or critical, such as to right a wrong or be reconciled with someone, we should first settle the matter, and then come and present ourselves to God (Matthew 5:23-24). Only when we are at peace with God and men can we be at our best and completed blessed.
Let us therefore not neglect or fail to do what is right and necessary because of inconvenience, cost or time constraint. Let us instead weigh the real cost from the viewpoint of God and understand the value of each and everything we do or fail to do. If the thing we ought to do outweighs all the efforts we put in to make up for the negligence, then let us consider our ways, for the consequence can cost much more!
Forgive us dear Lord for neglecting to do the things we ought to do. Remind us Lord to always put You first in all our plans and in all we do. Regardless the reasons for not doing what we ought to do, Lord, help us overcome our mindsets and hearts to change and set everything right according to Your will. Bless us abundantly Lord in the things we do right that with Your blessings we may bless others too.
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