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Doing The Right Thing At The Right Time

James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Timothy squirmed on the uncomfortable, brown, plastic chair in the back of the court room waiting patiently for his name to be called. It was 12.45 pm and he had sat down, anticipating an early proceeding, almost four hours ago. Clearly a quick trial was not for him today. I watched him out of the corner of my eye a few rows behind. He didn’t know his mother was there.

It was the first time for both of us. The first and hopefully, only, conviction for my son. But there were others whose choices deemed the courtroom as their second home. Driving on an expired license, was not too great a crime. There were certainly far worse cases being brought before the magistrate. The multitude of drink and drug driving offenses was disturbing. Most offenders seemed to be young men in their twenties. The magistrate was not impressed, and the penalty handed down was a reflection of his sentiment.

Some were full of remorse, others were not. I prayed quietly for them all. One young man was standing before the magistrate for the sixth drug driving offense. His two children and partner watched with anticipation from the seats behind. He pleaded guilty. What else could he say? My heart leaped out for him. Addiction is such a vicious cycle. Only Christ can set him free from this downward spiral, bringing the relief and release that he longs for.

And then it was his turn. Dressed in well pressed long pants, and long sleeve shirt, with shoes looking shiner than I can remember, my son walked to the bench. With all due respect and a clear voice, he answered, ‘good afternoon, your honor’, ‘yes, your honor’ and ‘thank you, your honor.’ I was not proud of his driving charge, but I was proud of the way he handled himself before the man of authority. And I knew in my heart, that in that moment, God was pleased too. Timothy had been rightly caught and justly convicted for his wrong. His charge was fair and the financial penalty moderate. He turned to go and saw me with a mixture of surprise and relief. We smiled and he opened the door for me.

I drove him back to work with only 45 minutes before closing time. He didn’t want to miss any more work than was necessary, and his boss would want to know the outcome of the trial, Tim said. Another young man would have taken the opportunity to cut loose and go home. Perhaps his boss, though disappointed that Tim has lost his license for six months, will remember that he returned to his duties, even with less than an hour’s work time left.

James 3:13 Who is wise and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

Integrity is doing and saying the right thing at the right time, even when no one else knows. And when we choose otherwise, we will be chastised. Timothy learnt that but is all the wiser for the rebuke.

God is not tolerate of those of us who know the right thing to do, but can’t be bothered, or don’t feel like it or will get around to it tomorrow. He abhors the sins of laziness, apathy and procrastination. We might like to humor ourselves into believing our failure to attend to what is right is permissible. But it is not.

Just as James reminds us of the sin we commit when we fail to do what is right, he also exhorts us to choose a more profitable course of action. He encourages us to demonstrate our faith through good and right behavior that comes from the wisdom of godly living. The one who is truly wise and commended by the LORD will do the next right thing that they know ought to be done. In obedience, which is born out of our deep love for the LORD, we will do what we ought to do and not what we ought not to do.

What good task is God calling us to right now that we are postponing? When we get a rich and deep understanding of how all sin is a putrid offense to God, we will be eager to flee it and pursue only what pleases Him. We will no longer hesitate to do the right thing at the right time.

Dearest LORD, You have asked me to complete the tasks that are set before me each day. Help me to do them totally, thoroughly and orderly to the glory of Your name. Holy Spirit, create in me a heart that is full of integrity. Forgive me for the sins of neglect and omission. May I long to obey You and not shirk from my responsibilities. Thank You for Your gracious hand upon my life. Amen.’

About Jennifer Woodley

Jennifer is an Australian freelance writer who lives in a small rural town in sunny Queensland. She is passionate about encouraging others on their journey with Christ through writing and mentoring. Jennifer is a school chaplain, wife, mother of three adult sons and loving grandma of one adorable grandson. More of her writing can be found at www.inhisname6.com and www.faithwriters.com.

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  1. Jennifer,
    Thank you for this personal reflection, it provided a great segue for a very pertinent and prolific message about the Word and the LORD.
    God Bless you~


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