I have a bit of a routine with my oldest son with regards to school. It is something that, at times, he even rolls his eyes at me about. I ask him two questions when I see him after school. First of all, I ask him if he learned anything at school that day. He usually replies with some sort of answer that indicates he is annoyed that I would even ask such a question. Then I ask him about whether or not he got his name on the board that day or not.
The second question gets mixed responses. He is in 2nd grade and 2nd graders can have a difficult time being quiet. I know my child and I am aware that he likes to talk. Where did he get that from? No matter who is to blame for that, he needs to learn when it is time to talk and when it is time to listen. To be fair, he is not intentionally being rude, he just feels like he needs to answer people around him when they speak to him. I know how awkward that is to handle even as an adult. I have been in meetings where someone next to me wants to tell me something and they whisper in a loud voice. The whole time I know that everyone can hear them, but they don’t seem to get it. I know that we all understand this, but at the same time we are responsible for ourselves.
Lately, his answer has been that he hasn’t gotten his name on the board. This is something we are constantly talking about with him, so it is awesome to see him making progress here. Yesterday, I asked him the question and he said something profound. He said, “No, I didn’t get my name on the board.” I said, “So, were you good today then” His response, “Well, most of the time.”
As I think about that, I realize that there really isn’t much more we can ask for. I mean, even on the best of days we will still mess up more than we ever realize.(or admit) Anything positive is, then, a step in the right direction.
As we serve God, there are plenty of opportunities to fall back into the old, sinful ways. There are ever-increasing appeals to worship idols, even though their value really is temporary. The world around us starts to become more important than the matters of eternity, even though we know (if we stop think about it) that they aren’t. There are daily decisions to pay attention to what is going on around us and to make progress in the right direction. If I were to assess my day, I would hope I could say that I was serving God “most of the time” at the very least. The truth is that it would be hard for any of us to say it was 100%.
At the end of the book of Joshua, there is a reminder to serve God. Joshua warns the people to avoid worshiping other gods. In fact, he tells them to throw them away and to never look back. He says it a few times.
“Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshipped beyond the River and in Egypt and serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14
“Now then, said Joshua, throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” Joshua 24:23
Now, we know that they did not follow this completely. In fact, there were cycles of false gods yet to come. However, God does not abandon them in it. He knows their tendency to wander and get caught up in things that don’t matter. He knew that they would forget and fail. God sticks with them and ultimately sends a Savior in His Son Jesus Christ.
Our job is to make a choice in our life to follow Him. Yes, it is time to throw away those things that hinder our relationship with God and choose today that our daily life will be all for Him. There really is no other way. No, we will not be perfect, but we can do our best. We can say that the progression of our life is to serve God and we mostly do that, with hopefully less and less deviation from that over time. What really gets me, though, is that even though I might serve him “most of the time” He serves “me all the time.” That has never changed and it never will.
“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods of your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my households, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua 24:15