April 12, 2021

The Only Right Way

 Devotion for the Week...

When I first learned how to properly put a binding on a quilt, it was sewn to the front by machine, then stitched to the back by hand. This, I believed, was the only right way to bind a quilt. When I taught some friends to quilt, I insisted they had to finish the binding by hand, even though one of them positively hated hand stitching. It wasn't until I had been quilting for over 15 years that I decided to try finishing the binding on my machine, for a set of placemats, and then I was converted. It's so much faster! And it looks just as good, especially with practice.

I should have known better than to insist there was only one right way to bind a quilt, since I had also at one time thought that quilting by hand was the only right way and machine quilting was cheating. Of course, then I tried machine quilting and fell in love with it, which quickly changed my tune! I have since learned to pray, "Lord, save me from ever again thinking my way is the only right way to do anything."

It seems Paul had encountered some Romans who felt their way of serving God was the only right way and he wanted to set them straight. "Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them...In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God" (Romans 14:1-3, 5-6).

It's all too easy to get caught in the trap of thinking our way is the only right way, isn't it? In some cases, this is true...we can't please God if we're lying to people all day long...but in most cases there are multiple right answers. Church service on Saturday night and sports on Sunday? That works. Sunday morning service, then off to work for the rest of the day? That works, too. Church every other week, and working the other week? That's good, too. None of those options is more spiritual than the others. None of them is more right than the other.

This applies to so many things! I once heard a pastor say he would ask a man to leave if he were wearing a baseball hat in church. Why? Does wearing a hat mean he doesn't love God? I realize the convention is that men remove their hats in church, but is it worth kicking him out over? To me, that feels very much like "my way is the only right way."

Notice that the things Paul gives as examples aren't the basics of theology. Those are non-negotiable. Paul isn't saying we can create our own theology. Instead, he's saying that we take what we know of God, which we learn from the Bible, and apply it to the decisions we make about how to live our lives and how to best serve Him. Ultimately, this is about how we serve Him, not about serving ourselves and our own convenience.
Is what I'm doing acceptable to God? | DevotedQuilter.com
As the test of whether or not what we are doing is right, Paul says in verse 5, "You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable." It's important to note that doesn't mean we should be fully convinced it's the easiest thing or that we just do what we want without considering God's view of it. Paul means we should be fully convinced that what we're doing is acceptable to God. If we are so convinced, then we can carry on. And then, when we encounter others who are also fully convinced that what they do is acceptable to God - even if we disagree - we allow them to carry on as well.


  1. I'm glad that sewing binding on by machine works for you! I tried it, and was very disappointed in the finished appearance. And yes, I've taught beginners to bind by hand... but ALWAYS explain that there are other ways, and that if they want to try it by machine, they're welcome. I think with age comes wisdom. The older I get, the more I KNOW that my way isn't always the best way. I try to keep that in mind, and not judge others by the ways they do things differently.


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