Have you ever taken the time to ask yourself why you do what you do?
Let’s face it, in a world where the lines between right and wrong are becoming harder and harder to see, “doing the right thing” is becoming more and more of a challenge.
It used to be taken as a given that standing up for what’s right would be rewarded.
Turning our back on evil?
Well, we once believed that allowing wrong things to go on when we had the power to present them was a recipe for shame and personal disaster.
Now, not so much.
In fact, more and more often these days the results of moral choices seem to be reversed.
Consider this entry into the SRL Files under “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”:
Seattle Bank Teller Fired for Chasing, Apprehending
SEATTLE — A Seattle bank teller has lost his job because he ran down a would-be bank robber and held him until police arrived.
Jim Nicholson, who worked at a Key Bank branch, says he understands the bank’s policy that employees comply with robbery demands and avoid dangerous confrontations. But he tells The Seattle Times that his instincts took over when the man demanded money during the Tuesday incident.
Nicholson says he tried to grab the man, then chased him several blocks before knocking him down with help from a passer-by. The man turned out to be unarmed.
The 30-year-old Nicholson was fired Thursday. Key Bank officials declined to comment, but Seattle police and the FBI say they advise tellers against acting against robbers. Instead, police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb says, they should be good witnesses and comply with demands unless their personal safety is in jeopardy.
Here we see a modern twist on the tried and true morality tale.
Jim Nicholson literally put his life on the line to “do the right thing”.
Instead of being rewarded, he was reprimanded.
Instead of being commended, he was canned!
He put his life on the line for his employer.
His employer showed him out to the unemployment line.
The reasoning behind this decision isn’t hard to spot. In our Bizzaro world, everyone lives in fear of being the next victim of the litigation lottery.
“Why, if we hold this guy up as a hero, the next time someone goes after a bank robber and gets shot or injured in the process, they will turn around and sue us into oblivion!”
“Thanks again, Mr.Nichols. Oh, and best of luck finding a new job. Don’t let the bank door hit you on your way out.”
Could you imagine being in Jim Nichols shoes today?
Why be heroic, why do the right thing if all it’s going to get you is fired?
If doing what is right doesn’t result in an immediate reward, why bother?
Why should we “do the right thing”?
Believe it or not, this is one of the most important questions we can ever take time to ponder, especially in our walk with God.
And here’s why.
Every now and then I encounter a person who describes them self as “an ex-Christian”.
When I ask them why they lost their faith, more often than not they will reply that they “tried Jesus” and He didn’t work for them.
I’m always tempted to ask if they read the directions for use and took the recommended dose with plenty of liquids.
But when the story unfolds, there is a situation where they “did the right thing” and got the exact opposite of what they were expecting.
They prayed and a loved one didn’t get better.
They gave and ended up going bankrupt.
They refused to compromise their standards in a relationship and ended up dumped and lonely.
And so they cashed in their faith.
God didn’t perform up to their expectations, so they gave Him the pink slip.
Do you see the problem here?
We aren’t called to “do the right thing” in the Christian life because God guarantees immediate positive results.
In fact the only Person Who ever perfectly “did the right thing” got crucified for His trouble.
We are called to “do the right thing” as an expression of our love and gratitude to God, not to somehow make Him owe us one.
In fact, if we decide that we are going to walk in God’s ways simply because we are convinced He loved us ultimately when He sent His Son to die for us, we can experience a stumble proof faith, no matter what the immediate outcome.
And we will also come to understand another key truth.
He who is rewarded last is rewarded best.
I have no idea where Jim Nichols is coming from in his spiritual life, but if he is a Christian he can know that there is a reward awaiting him that will make the pink slip he received from the bank seem like nothing.
A fellow who knew a thing or two about being wronged for being right was the Apostle Paul.
He courageously and without compromise shared the message of God’s love and forgiveness in such a way that the entire history of humanity was changed.
What did he get for his trouble?
He was eventually beheaded on the Ostian Way outside of Rome.
What kept him going when the results of following Jesus didn’t seem fair?
He kept his eyes focused on a greater reward.
Shortly before his death Paul wrote these moving words:
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (II Timothy 4:6-8)
Why are you “doing the right thing” today?
Or perhaps you have given up on “doing the right thing” because you seemingly keep experiencing the wrong results.
Remember, there is a God Who keeps track of all things we do, both great and small.
And anything we do as a response to the great love which He has for us will be rewarded forever.
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