Intersections are a good reminder that we have options—to the right, to the left, or straight ahead. Recently as I was stopped at an intersection, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight in front of me as a lady was walking her two dogs. The littler one seemed to be lagging behind, his leash taut, distracted by all the commotion at the intersection. The bigger dog, obviously having won the trust of his owner, was marching straight ahead, just a few paces in front of his mistress with his whole red leash in his mouth, ignoring the sights and sounds around him, no longer needing the restraint of a heavy hand.
God told our first parents He would give them rule over everything He had made (Psalm 8:6) with the further promise of ruling and reigning with Him for all eternity. I’ve come to realize that learning to rule will take some practice. While I can see that I’m not ready for all that power, God is giving me opportunities to practice ruling by starting with the simple things—like myself. The Bible calls it self-control.
Jesus told the parable of a man going on a journey who distributed a certain number of talents to each of his servants according to his ability. Upon his return he called each to give an account of the way in which they had invested that which he had entrusted to them. The first two reported they had doubled the value of the investment; and to each he said, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Unfortunately, the third servant, thinking his master a hard man, proved to be untrustworthy; the one talent given him was taken away and he suffered eternal punishment. (Matthew 25:14-30)
It seems life is a continual series of intersections. To the right, to the left, straight ahead, or stand still. I have to admit that I sometimes let distractions throw me off course, and I can feel the tug of the leash (the Holy Spirit) pulling me back. But, I’m learning to remind myself that I’m under orders. I’ve been called to serve. My life is now His; I’ve been bought with a price—the precious blood of Jesus. Every intersection is an opportunity to prove myself to be one of His reliable ones. By His grace and mighty resurrection power, I can use my tongue to bless, not justify myself; I can turn my mind toward noble things and think the best of others; and I can choose to love the one I’ve judged to be undeserving.
It’s a compelling thought that I can bring my Master real joy by staying the course—no tugging on the leash—using my talents for His glory and not mine. And that kind of joy is contagious. I’m looking forward to the next intersection. I want to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant … Enter into the joy of your master.”