Goody Two-Shoes – NOT!

 The fruit of the Spirit is goodness. –Galatians 5:22 NIV

 It wasn’t my mistake, but I’d be the one to pay for it.

When my credit union changed hands, the new company changed the date on which it automatically deducted a $300 loan payment so that the payment would come out two days earlier.

The problem was they never told me. Never sent me a notice, never called me. Nothing.

So when I received a notice that they were docking my checking account $50 for two bounced checks, I called.

“I mailed a check to be deposited two days before the loan payment was due,” I told them. “It was enough to cover the payment.”

That’s when they told me about changing the date. Long story short, they added the $50 back in my account.

I thought that was the end of the matter until I got a bill from the optometrist for $15—the insufficient funds fee from one of the checks my credit union bounced because they took out the loan payment two days early.

I called the optometrist’s office and explained what happened.

“I’m not paying this,” I said firmly. “This wasn’t my fault.”

You know the spiel. The bank charged them the fee, and they were passing it on to me.

I argued with the office manager.

“Somebody has to pay it,” she insisted. “And we aren’t.”

“I shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistake,” I muttered to myself after I hung up.

Then I pictured the Son of God hanging on a cross. He paid for all of our mistakes. All of our rebellion. All of our wrongs. And He never did a thing wrong.

I called the office manager back and apologized.

“I get yelled at everyday,” she told me, her voice softening. “It’s not often someone calls back and apologizes.”

I thought about calling the credit union or the bank involved and arguing my case with them, but decided it would be easier to pay the $15 than to run headfirst into the concrete wall of corporate policy. My blood pressure is high enough.

“To be good,” reads my Bible dictionary, “is to do what is right. It is to show, by our works, praiseworthy character and moral excellence.”

I’m no goody two-shoes. I fail every day. I get tired of doing the right thing time and time again—only to get slammed, blindsided, taken advantage of, and treated like I’m a nobody.

But that’s why God gave me His Holy Spirit—to help me to do that which I know is right, especially when it’s hard to do.

And sometimes the right thing is to say, “the buck stops here.”

Dear God, forgive me for becoming weary in well-doing. Give me the wisdom to know the right thing to do and the strength and courage to do it. Amen.

Read and reflect on the following Scripture verses:

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. –Micah 6:8 NIV

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 NIV

 And let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. –Galatians 6:9-10 NIV

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3 © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

When Life Isn’t Fair

 

 

Read and meditate on Matthew 20:1–16

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. –Philippians 4:11 NIV

Cheryl (not her real name) worked for one company for more than 25 years, faithfully showing up on time and putting in a full day’s work and then some. One of her responsibilities—for which she was not compensated—was to train new hires.

One day she discovered the girl she’d been training, who’d just passed the probation period, made the same hourly wage as Cheryl did. Compensation, she learned, was based not on seniority but on job position.

I never understood the point of the parable Jesus told in today’s reading. It just seemed unfair that those who worked only a few hours received the same pay as those who’d slaved all day under the hot sun.

But when I finally got past what I perceived as unfairness, I gleaned not one, but four lessons.

First, life isn’t fair. Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers then thrown in jail, where he languished for years, on a false accusation. Paul faithfully pursued God’s calling, only to be shipwrecked, stoned, beaten, left for dead, chased out of town more than once, and arrested on false charges (2 Corinthians 11:21–33). If that wasn’t enough, a “thorn in the flesh” (no one knows what it was) plagued him. Even though he prayed about it, God didn’t remove it, instead telling Paul, “My grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:7–10).

The second thing I recognized was that we humans are a grumbling lot. The Israelites complained all the way from Egypt to the Promised Land. We’re no different. You know what it’s like to spend time with a grumbler. They’re miserable, so they make everyone around them miserable. Our complaining has an effect not only on our perspective, but also on others. Both Paul (Philippians 2:14) and James (James 5:9) tell us not to grumble or complain.

Instead we are to let everything we say be good and helpful so that our words are an encouragement to those who hear them (Ephesians 4:29). Every morning I pray, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth. Keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3).

It helps to have a good perspective, and that is attained by allowing God to transform our minds (Romans 12:2) and think only that which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).

The third lesson I gleaned from this parable is to stop comparing myself with others, my situation with their situation, my pay with their pay. Instead, I am to be content with what I have (Hebrews 13:5), in whatever circumstances I find myself (Philippians 4:11–13).

Either I believe God is in control of everything that touches me—and has a plan and purpose for it—or I don’t.

And finally, once I got past the unfairness, I saw that this isn’t a parable about fairness at all. It’s about God’s grace. God’s amazing grace.

If He wants to give the deathbed conversion the same heaven as the lifelong servant, He can. It’s His grace to dispense as He chooses, and His home to open to whomever He welcomes.

I still struggle with unfairness, and I will as long as I tread this sphere. But I have the assurance that even though life may be unfair, God never is.

Help me, Lord, not to focus on “fair” but to focus on You. Amen.

© 2017, Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Image in public domain.