Monday, August 20, 2012

Walking Carefully

Three guys are convicted of a very serious crime, and they're all sentenced to twenty years in solitary confinement. They're each allowed one thing to bring into the cell with them.

The first guy asks for a big stack of books. The second guy asks for his wife. And the third guy asks for two hundred cartons of cigarettes.

At the end of the twenty years, they open up the first guy's cell. He comes out and says, "I studied so hard. I'm so bright now, I could be a lawyer. It was terrific."

They open up the second guy's door. He comes out with his wife, and they've got five new kids. He says. "It was the greatest thing of my life. My wife and I have never been so close. I have a beautiful new family. I love it."

They open up the third guy's door, and he's slapping at his pockets, going "Anybody got a match?"
It looks like the third guy does not possess a sense of attention to detail.

You know sometimes when we are going about in life, we tend to gloss over some details at one time or another. Sometimes we forget the little things in light of the big ones coming at us over the hill.
But as the adage goes, the devil is in the details. Sometimes when we neglect or forget the little things, they get big and sometimes overwhelming.

Today in our New Testament scripture The Apostle Paul is telling us about paying attention to the details of our Christian life.
Be very careful, then, how you live —not as unwise but as wise,  making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
 In the verses just before it the St. Paul writes to the Ephesian church,
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.  It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.” 

Paul is telling us to be careful, go pay attention to the details in your moral life because not only will all be revealed before Christ at the end of time, but the little things sometimes leads to big things. When we compromise our consciousness, when we willfully do what we know is wrong in the little things it is easier to say yes to the bigger things that we know is wrong. And it is those big things, those big sins are the ones that can overwhelm us and ruin our lives.

When in college I worked at a super 8 motel. My friend and dorm mate worked there and he got me the job. It was the night shift, the first one night shift that I ever had. It was horrible. I was not used to staying up all night and with classes in the next morning, it was a disaster in the making. My boss the manager, would stop by in the night and look things over and check the register.  One morning he checked the drawer and it was $50 short. I was confused. I had only 1 guest that night and he used a credit card. But I was responsible and my boss told me that it was coming out of my pocket. It was very upsetting, back then that was two nights work. But when the same thing happened the next week, I began to wonder what was up. When my bosses boss, the owner found out, I was terminated. I was very very upset, I knew that the drawer had checked out when I came on shift and once again we only had a few guests. Within a month I came to find out what was really happening. It seems my manager boss had a gambling problem and he had been taking money from the drawers for months. It had finally caught up with him, and the owner caught him red handed on security camera. Although it had started with just a few dollars here and a few there by the end he was stealing almost a hundred dollars a week from the motel. He was arrested and it destroyed his life.

When we compromise in the little things, sometimes it makes it easier to compromise yourself when it comes to the big things. It is like the old illustration of the frog and boiling water. If you try to put a frog in boiling water, it will immediately jump out because it gets burned. But if you put a frog in water and then turn on the fire, the water’s temperature gradually increases and the frog does not notice. It just sits there until it boils to death. It’s the same with us. It is easy to compromise our conscious here and there, and before you know it you are in a mess. But you don’t notice until it is too late. The funny thing is you can always see it when other people give in to compromise and fall down the slippery slope, but it is hard to notice when it happens to you.

At the height of a political corruption trial, the prosecuting attorney attacked a witness. "Isn't it true," he bellowed, "that you accepted five thousand dollars to compromise this case?"
The witness stared out the window, as though he hadn't heard the question.
"Isn't it true that you accepted five thousand dollars to compromise this case?" the lawyer repeated.
The witness still did not respond.
Finally, the judge leaned over and said, "Sir, please answer the question."
"Oh," the startled witness said, "I thought he was talking to you.

This week take time to reflect, are you paying attention to the details of your moral life? Or are there some little things that you have let slip by.
Heed the word of St. Paul from out scripture today.
Be very careful, then, how you live —not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 
Let us pray.