Wednesday, November 9, 2016


It is easier to be smart than to be good. You don’t need to know more from the Bible; you just need to do what you already know.

We don’t become doers on our own, of course. As we read the Scripture, we ask the Spirit to help us understand what to do in response, and the intersection of what the Scriptures teach and how our lives unfold will give us a never-ceasing stream to actually do what Jesus says. And when we forget, another chance will come along.

I was picking up a prescription one Saturday afternoon before a church service, and because I was in a hurry, I had called the night before to make sure it would be there. But when I got there, the man behind the counter told me it wouldn’t be ready until the next week. Apparently there was a mix-up between the medical people, the insurance people, and the pharmaceutical people.

“But I’ve got to have it,” I replied. I was scheduled to leave the United States the next day.

“Well, it’s not ready,” the clerk said.

“But the automated system told me last night it would be ready today.”

“There is a flaw in the automated system then,” he told me.

All of a sudden I felt unbelievable anger well inside me. A flaw in the system? I wanted to say, There’s a flaw in you! I didn’t say that, because people from my church might have been around. (That is an occupational hazard of being a pastor.) But with every gesture and tone that I could, I expressed contempt and irritation with the man behind the counter. I didn’t simply feel anger, I wanted to feel it. I indulged it. I wanted to make him feel small. I was amazed at my own ugliness.

When I returned to the church, I opened a Bible in my office and read a single phrase -- “love one another” -- and had to call a friend to tell him there was an inner jerk inside me that’s scary.

Then, after I got back from my trip, I went to the pharmacy to tell the man behind the counter I was sorry for being so irritated and how much I appreciated his help. And I was back in the flow.

-- John Ortberg in The Me I Want To Be


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