April 28, 2014

Putting it Off

Devotion for the Week...

My sister-in-law, Nancy does alterations for people all the time. She has suggested a few times that I should do likewise, at least as far as hemming pants. I don't think I could handle the other, more involved, things she does. "You could make a lot of money hemming pants," she tells me. She's probably right. In our small community there aren't many people who hem pants, so those who do are always swamped.

There's just one problem. I hate hemming pants. As in, I'd give away my sewing machine before I'd spend all my sewing time hemming. I once complained to an acquaintance about needing to hem a pair and I saw her eyes light up. "You hem pants?" she asked, eager to jump in and tell me all about the many pairs her family needed done. Let's just say I set the record straight pretty quickly.

There are times I buy pants and then don't wear them for weeks, sometimes months, because I don't want to hem them, and Nancy lives too far away to do it for me:) My husband has, after waiting patiently for weeks, told me specific occasions on which he wanted to wear his new pants, essentially giving me a deadline by which to have them done. The funny thing is, hemming pants isn't all that difficult and it doesn't even take all that long. I just put it off and put it off because I don't want to do it.

Not wanting to hem a pair of pants really only results in a minor inconvenience because I can't wear my new pants, but there are other things we sometimes put off doing that could have much more impact. There are things God has commanded in the Bible that we tend to put off. Things like "love each other" (John 15:17), forgive each other (Matthew 6:14, 15), and control your tongue (James 1:26 and 3:1-12). Sometimes we'd rather hold onto that grudge, or speak unkindly about someone who rubs us the wrong way. We put off following God's commands, even though we know what He expects of us. We just don't want to do it.

I thought of that this past week while reading the Bible with my two older boys before bed. We're reading Psalm 119, a little at a time, and one night I read, "I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands," (Psalm 119: 60).

Hmmm. Do we really hasten, or hurry, to obey His commands? Or are we more likely to dawdle along, maybe making motions so it looks like we're heading in the right direction, but really we're doing everything in our power to put it off?

"In a little while."

"I'll do it later"

"When I finish this..."

We say these things to people all the time, delaying doing what they're asking of us until a time when it's more convenient, or when we're in a different mood. Do we say the same things to God, maybe without using the actual words, or even noticing that we're doing it?

"I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands," says a lot about the writer's heart attitude towards God. About how he viewed God's commands, about how he viewed his own wants and interests in comparison to the things God wanted for him. What do our actions say about our heart attitude and about us?

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