After letting the dogs out, I poured a morning cup of coffee and sat in the great room, iPad in my lap. First, I checked the weather then scanned social media—Instagram, Twitter, Facebook—sorted email, and read the headlines. It’s hard not to get discouraged by rants on social media and what’s considered “news.”
Clickbait with fear-inducing words, such as spike, surge, and disaster, and self-righteous grandstanding with what have become buzzwords: justice, equality, and science—words that give the appearance of truth but often have nothing to do with justice or equality or science.
Coffee finished, I let the dogs in, moved to my laptop, and prayed through devotions that had fed into my email overnight. How I needed the wisdom of scripture after all the folly in the news. That day last week, I read a reflection about the Parable of the Two Sons in Matthew 21, starting at verse 28.
“…There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
“Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
Jesus’ disciples answered, “The first.”
Yup, I nodded, pointing my finger at those self-righteous grandstanders. But then my finger turned around and pointed at me.
Aren’t you a little like that? I asked myself. Don’t you enjoy posturing a little in hopes of making yourself appear smarter, better, more righteous?
When I see slivers in others’ eyes, it’s likely there’s a log in my own.
Then for some reason, I remembered one of the bits of wisdom computer scientist Randy Pausch offered in his 2007 last lecture. Pausch died of pancreatic cancer in 2008 at the age of 47, leaving wife Jai, and three children, Dylan, Logan, and Chloe. In his lecture and book of the same title, Pausch said:
“My daughter is just eighteen months, so I can’t tell her this now, but when she’s old enough, I want Chloe to know something a female colleague once told me, which is good advice for young ladies everywhere. In fact, pound for pound, it’s the best advice I’ve ever heard.
“My colleague told me, ‘It took me a long time, but I’ve finally figured it out. When it comes to men who are romantically interested in you, it’s really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do.’”
Good advice for men, too—for us all. Pay attention to what they do. Do we work in the vineyard or just say the buzzwords?
Because God only wants the first person.