Monday, May 30, 2011

Our actions - seen and weighed

TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 2:1-20

TO CHEW ON: "Talk no more very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge and by him actions are weighed." - 1 Samuel 2:3 ESV

Tim Challies in his book The Next Story reminds us of how the internet and wireless technology has made much of our lives traceable. Search engine data, email, telephone and text message records, our twitter stream, not to speak of what we write on blogs and comment on web pages can all be cobbled together to form a picture of who we are. Of course, if we have nothing to hide, we don't worry a lot about this, relying on the improbability that anyone will actually take the time and effort to sleuth it all out and join the dots.

However, there is One who doesn't need Google's search engine records to know what kind of person we are: "The Lord, the God of knowledge." He is the One who knows us in an all-inclusive Psalm 139 way and will eventually weigh our actions.

It's interesting that later in the chapter of today's reading, after Hanna has finished praying and gone home, probably in blissful ignorance about the tainted environment in which she's left Samuel (barely out of toddlerhood) the writer begins to tell the story of Eli's sons. They turn out to be a living illustration of what she has just prayed.

He begins the story about them: "Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord" - 1 Samuel 2:12. Then he describes how they were flaunting the rules of handling the sacrifices, and ends: "Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord" - 1 Samuel 2:17.

Whether the people knew they were sinning or not isn't clear, and isn't the issue. What mattered was that God saw and His evaluation counted.

I take two challenges from today's passage.

1. I need to realize that God knows even my most private moments. Despite the digital trail I leave with my daily actions, I may be able to maintain a comfortable degree of privacy from others. But I can't hide anything from Him. He not only sees my actions, but knows how to weigh them — interpret the motivations from which they come.

2. I want to live in such a way that if someone actually took the time to piece together the digital bits I leave behind, that trail would glorify Jesus.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to live each moment with the consciousness that You see. And help me to gain the wisdom to weigh my actions with the scales that You use. Amen.

MORE: What does your digital trail say about you?

Tim Challies:

"More people than ever before are watching us, keeping tabs on us through our data. They are sorting through this data to find a picture of who we are....Wouldn't it be remarkable if the "Numerati" could see a distinct difference between data trails Christians leave behind and the ones left behind by unbelievers — that our data trails made it obvious that we had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). And wouldn't it be a shame if the data trails were nearly indistinguishable?" - Tim Challies in The Next Story, p. 187.

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