Categories
Christian Living obedience

On Outsmarting a Smart Watch

It feels like I’m wearing a slot machine on my wrist! Yes, I’m talking about my new Apple Watch’s hand washing timer.

Each time you lather up, a twenty second countdown (encircled by soapy bubbles) pops up on the screen. Keep scrubbing until zero and you get a congratulatory message as sparkling bubbles sail across the screen.

I love seeing my watch’s, “You Did It,” but twenty seconds is a long time for a squirrel like me.

So sometimes I cheat.

It looks like this: I give my hands a quick soapy rinse, dry them and then keep rubbing them together until the timer hits zero. I get an “atta boy” with a bubble show and the watch is none the wiser.

My wife shakes her head. “Sweetheart, it takes you the same amount of time to do it wrong as to do it right.” 🧼🙃


It’s also like this sometimes with Jesus. I go through the motions to get His “Well done,” but it’s a half-hearted effort. Like Paul warned Timothy, I resemble those who “maintain a facade of “godliness”, while their conduct denies its validity.” (2 Timothy 3:15 – PHILLIPS NT)

But God is not a gadget so easily fooled.

The people of Isaiah’s day were “quick rinsers” who felt no shame at the disconnect between their hearts and hands. They went through the motions– fasting and humbling themselves–but God literally told His prophet to shout them down for their sins! (Isaiah 58:1-9)

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice…to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” (Isaiah 58:6-7)

It’s intriguing here that God’s, “not-so-well-done”, focuses on the people’s relationships with each other rather than with Him. Evidently, we best demonstrate the Lord’s love when we share it with those in need. And when we don’t do this, God isn’t fooled by our half-baked “holiness.”

Real Life Scenario #2: when asked what was the greatest commandment, Jesus offered a two-for-one special:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, AND love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31).

It’s not an “either or,” but a “both and.” No one who truly loves God neglects their neighbor (1 John 4:19-21). And just in case we want some wiggle room, like the guy who asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”, Christ’s answer is this: EVERYONE (Luke 10:25-37).


My new gadget is so smart it sometimes catches the con.

A drop down list seeks an explanation:

  • I was not washing my hands.
  • This was just a quick rinse.
  • I already scrubbed for 20s.

The second one was my final answer. But something tells me God won’t accept, “That was just a quick spiritual rinse,” on the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36)

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

Jesus – Luke 6:46
Categories
Christian Blog forgiveness

Weeds Are Flowers Too

“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.”

A.A. Milne

If the guys on my dorm hallway at seminary had been the twelve disciples, then *Sean Fitzpatrick would have been Peter. Too say that ‘Surly Sean,’ as he was known, was rough around the edges is putting it kindly. Brash, quick tempered and occasionally foul-mouthed, he was far from the typical divinity student.
Sean looked like a shorter version of Tom Selleck, from the show Magnum P.I.–right down to the shorts and Hawaiian shirt. And just like the character on television, he was always ready with a playful insult.

I asked one of the other guys on the hall, “What’s with this dude?!” My friend told me that Sean came to seminary after his father died of a heart attack while they were on a hunting trip. The grieving young man was adrift, so his pastor suggested he come cross-country to attend seminary–thinking it might help the healing process. But Sean only lasted one semester; training to be a pastor was NOT his calling. This was no surprise to the rest of us.

Nevertheless, as I got to know my fractious neighbor, I realized he was a true brother in Christ who just happened to come from a different place than I did. Sean told me of growing up in Philadelphia, where Irish kids like him walked down the middle of the street to avoid being mugged. It was unimaginable, to a small town boy like me, who grew up where people seldom locked their doors.

We lost touch after he left seminary, but something told me Sean was back in Philly. So three years later, I looked him up. He was married and a recent father to a baby daughter. I reminded him that the last time we’d talked he insulted me. I won’t repeat what he said–this is a G-rated blog–but to him, these were terms of endearment. However, three years later, he couldn’t believe he’d talked to me like that! Clearly, Surly had sweetened. He even thanked me for being a good friend during a tough time in his life.

There are lots of ‘Seans’ out there, people who aren’t exactly like you or me, people who are hurting. And God loves them too. Remember one of the nicknames Jesus’ enemies gave Him? They called him a ‘Friend of Sinners’ (Matthew 7:43).

When Sean showed up at a seminary, he was like Zacchaeus in the Bible, up in a tree looking for Jesus. But most of us pious would be pastors avoided him, because we thought weeds aren’t really flowers. We were wrong.

For the son of man came to seek and save the lost.

Luke 19:10

*not his real name.