Aretta Loving, Wycliffe missionary, was washing her breakfast dishes when she saw Jimmy, the five-year-old neighbor, headed straight toward the back porch. She had just finished painting the back porch handrails and she was very pleased with her work.
“Come around to the front door Jimmy,” she shouted. “There’s wet paint on the porch rails.”
“I’ll be careful,” Jimmy replied, continuing toward the door.
“No Jimmy. Don’t come up the steps,” Aretta shouted, know that Jimmy had a penchant for messing things up.
“I’ll be careful,” Jimmy assured her again as he came closer to the steps.
“Jimmy! Stop!” Aretta shouted. “I don’t want carefulness. I want obedience!”
As the words exited her mouth, she suddenly remember Samuel’s response to Saul in 1 Samuel 15:22:
And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
How did Jimmy respond? Aretta wondered what his next move would be.
“All right Loving,” he replied. “I’ll go around to the front door.”
He was the only one who called her by her last name like that and it had endeared him to her from the start. As she she turned to go back to her work, she pondered, “How often am I like Saul or like Jimmy, wanting to go my own way? I rationalize, ‘I’ll be careful, Lord.’ as I proceed with my own plans.”
Beloved, God is not looking for excuses. He’s not looking for carefulness because carefulness is not enough. What God is looking for is obedience.
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)