What Would Jesus Do?
© Copyright 2003 by Tony Capoccia. This file may
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Verses quoted, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the HOLY
BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
©1978 by the New York Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
This sermon is now available on Audio CD or MP3 at www.gospelgems.com
It is Super Bowl Sunday and Tom and Darla Harper are watching the game together. The Harpers are born-again Christians who have been saved for about five years; they have two young children and live in a middle class neighborhood in central New Jersey. Tom Harper is a salesman at a new-car dealership and his wife Darla is a fashion designer in New York City.
As they are watching the half-time festivities they are talking about the latest political crisis in Israel and the struggle that the President was having in trying to help mediate the situation. Suddenly an ad comes on TV showing some nudity and using some improper language. Tom reaches for the remote control to try to mute the sound and blank out the picture, but it is too late; their children had already seen the ad and heard the language. Tom says, "I've had it with TV." Why can't they clean up their ads? What is a Christian to do? Is there anything safe to watch anymore?"
His wife Darla says, "Well, one thing I know, if Jesus were here He would never have turned on the game in the first place!" Tom replies, "Now wait a minute, there's nothing wrong with football--it can't be a sin to watch it!" "That's not the point," says Darla, "Jesus would not have subjected Himself to the objectionable commercials that He knew were sure to come. Have you ever wondered just how Jesus would live in the 21st century? How would He react to our society and its ways?"
Tom says, "I bet He would live just like the rest of us, watching football, going to church, working on cars, cutting the grass, all the stuff that we do every day."
"No, I don't think so" replies Darla, "Jesus would not behave as most of us do, because He is so Holy. He would live a life of perfection in an imperfect world." "Tom," Darla asks, "Have you ever read that book titled, 'In His Steps'"? It was written in 1900 by Charles Sheldon, and he was trying to paint a picture of what it would be like to live a life of holiness in 1900; that is, living each moment of the day always asking the question, 'What would Jesus do?'"
"No, I haven't read the book," said Tom, "but I bet it was easy to live a life of holiness in the early 1900's, but today, in the 21st century, it would be nearly impossible!"
Darla replies, "Not really, because God's Word hasn't changed and He still commands us to be holy as He is holy, and to walk as Jesus did. In fact, His Word says, 'The things revealed [by God] belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.'" [Deuteronomy 29:29].
Tom then comes up with a surprise suggestion, "Ok, Darla, you seem to be indicating that Christians in the 21st century can still walk in holiness as Jesus did--well, why don't we try it?" Darla was shocked that those words should come from Tom who struggles with his daily walk with Christ. She then says, "OK, I have an idea. The people in the book, 'In His Steps' pledged themselves earnestly and honestly for an entire year not to attempt anything without first asking the question, 'What would Jesus do?' I would like us to try it for just one month! Let's plan to review our progress at the end of each day as we try to walk in holiness." Tom agrees, and then they prayed together to ask God to help them, and to direct them step by step in this new commitment.
They turned off the Super Bowl, deciding that they wouldn't subject themselves to the ungodly commercials. Tom reminds Darla again, "Let's remember that beginning right now, we pledge ourselves to do everything in our daily lives, only after asking the question, 'What would Jesus do?' regardless of what may it may cost us."
Tom looks at his watch and says, "Honey, you know that the Century video store is still open and they have a Christian video section, why don't we go and pick up a couple videos to watch?" “OK,” Darla said, "I think that Jesus would do something like that." Tom and Darla and their children head out to the garage to their minivan. Tom suddenly thinks, "would Jesus do anything special here?" Just then a Scripture goes through his mind, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her." [Ephesians 5:25] Tom quickly beats Darla to her door and reaches out and opens the passenger door for her to enter. Darla looks shocked, smiles and says, "What's the occasion? You haven't open my door since before we were married!" Tom says, "Jesus says to love you like He loves the church and I know that He adores the church, so I think Jesus would open the door for His wife."
It is a little late in the evening and Darla notices that each child laid down on the seats for the drive. Darla tells the children to sit up and to "buckle up" and they respond, "But you never made us wear seatbelts before if we didn't want to, why do we have to now?" Darla, thinks of her new pledge, and thinks of the Word of God, then says, "Children, God's Word says, 'Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.'” [Romans 13:1] Surely, Jesus would obey the law of the land, which requires that all occupants wear seatbelts, especially little children. So, children, you need to wear your seatbelts because the law says we have too, and Jesus says that we must obey the law, and if we don't, we sin."
Tom pulls out of the driveway and heads for the freeway. It isn't long before the "beep" of the radar detector goes off to inform him of police radar. As Tom slows back to the speed limit He thinks of Jesus. What would Jesus do? It was against the law to use radar detectors in their state, but Tom had justified it because Darla always pushed it too fast, and had received too many speeding tickets. When he had bought her the detector for Christmas he had rationalized that it was better to break the law by having a detector, than have Darla getting all those tickets and being a bad Christian testimony. Now, it suddenly doesn't make sense anymore, especially in light of what Darla had just shared about obeying the law because God had established it.
"For sure, Jesus would not break the law!" Tom thinks. He looks over to Darla and she looks at him and they both know the detector has got to go. Tom reaches over and turns off the radar detector, unplugs it and gives it to Darla. Darla wraps it up carefully and puts it on the floor. "What do you plan to do with it?" Darla asks. "I was thinking of giving it to your brother; you know he's not a Christian and he's always getting tickets." "Is that what you think Jesus would do with it?" Darla asks. Tom thinks, then says, "No, Jesus would not give it to some one, just so they can sin with it, He would destroy it."
When they arrive home after the video outing, Darla and the kids go into the house while Tom stays in the garage. He takes the radar detector and lays it on his workbench and reaches for his hammer. He thinks to himself, "Why did I have to insist on buying the most expensive model available?" As he raises the hammer he stops and thinks of Jesus, then reaches out for his safety goggles and puts them on saying, "Thank you Jesus." It takes only a couple of blows and the detector is no longer capable of detecting anything. As Tom drops the pieces into the trashcan he thinks of Jesus and says to himself, "I love you Jesus, I love you Jesus."
As Tom is getting ready for bed, there is, as usual, a trail of clothes behind him. For years Darla had reminded him that she wasn't his servant and that he should learn to pick up after himself. Tonight, as Tom is climbing into bed he suddenly looks at his trail of shoes, socks, pants, shirt and thinks, "What would Jesus do?" The Word of God comes to mind, "Husbands . . . be considerate as you live with your wives." [1 Peter 3:7] So Tom jumps out of bed and starts to pick up his clothes.
Meanwhile, Darla starts to become angry when she sees Tom throw his clothes on the floor, but then she thinks of how Jesus would react and she recalls the Biblical truth that Jesus, "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant." [Philippians 2:6-7] She also thinks of the Scriptures " . . . serve one another in love." [Galatians 5:13] "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men." [Ephesians 6:7]. So as Tom begins to pick up his clothes, Darla says, "Oh Tom Darling, let me help you pick those up."
As they both slip into bed, Tom has his usual desire to "cuddle" and Darla has her usual "headache." It has been this way for the past couple of years because Darla resents Tom's lack of consideration and finds it hard to forgive him for all the "little offenses" he does to her and unconsciously she has taken it out on him in the bedroom. Tonight though she thinks and prays silently, "Lord, what would you do now? Oh, Lord, before you answer, please remember that I am tired and Tom for the most part is an inconsiderate husband." Just then, the Bible verses she had memorized during premarital counseling come to mind, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." [Matthew 18:21-22] Also, she remembers the verses, "The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent." [1 Corinthians 7:4-5] She also remembers, "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." [Ephesians 4:26] She turns to Tom and says, "Darling, I need to talk to you about some things that have been bothering me for a long time."
The next morning Tom Harper does something different than has been his normal habit pattern--he gets up early. In the past the alarm was always set to go off at 6:30 am, which allowed him just enough time to dress, eat and make it to work on time. But last night Tom thought of Jesus, and what the Bible says about Jesus' early morning habits, "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." [Mark 1:35] So Tom gets up this morning at 5:30 am and goes to his "closet," the basement, and prays to his Lord and reads the Bible. This is refreshing to Tom who had always struggled with finding time in his hectic daily schedule to pray and read.
At about 6:30 am Tom steps into the shower and begins to enjoy the warmth of the water, and thinks briefly, "Well there isn't anything different that Jesus would do in the shower than I do!" Just then the water turns ice cold! Now, Tom's usual response to this very frequent occurrence was to yell at the top of his lungs to Darla "Where did all the hot water go?" He had always blamed his wife, assuming she had just started the washing machine, or the dishwasher. She had never acknowledged his harsh question. But, this morning, as he abruptly pulls back from the icy water, he stops and thinks of how Jesus would respond, and a Scripture comes to mind, "Do everything without complaining or arguing," and "give thanks in all circumstances." [Philippians 2:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:18] So instead of saying anything to Darla, he just prays quietly, "I love You Jesus. Thank You for giving me Darla, and thank You that she's a hard working wife. Help me work this irritation out with her. Amen."
After Tom showers, his usual practice is to shave and comb his hair. Now during this time he usually listens to the radio, choosing Country and Western music or the "oldies." This morning, as he listens to the words being sung he realizes that they normally sing about drinking, drunkenness, adultery, rebellion, and sometimes even use foul language. He thinks of Jesus and what He would listen to, and the Word of God comes to his mind, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." [Philippians 4:8] He then turns to a Christian radio station where someone is preaching, and as he listens he hears some false doctrine being proclaimed. He wonders what Jesus would do, again Scriptures flow into his mind, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching [of true doctrine], do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work." [2 John 1:10-11] With a rapid "click" off goes the radio and Tom says, "You're 'outta' here!" Then he calls to Darla, "Honey, do we have any more John MacArthur tapes?" He finishes getting dressed listening to a cassette where the Word of God was being proclaimed in truth, in boldness, and with authority.
Tom comes into the kitchen to have some breakfast. He reaches for the coffeepot and the donuts, his usual fare, but he stops, and remembers his pledge to walk in holiness by asking in each situation, "What would Jesus do?" So he thinks of Scriptures he knows about eating and sure enough the Holy Spirit brings him a couple, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." [1 Corinthians 6:19-20] And also, "Everything is permissible for me"--but not everything is beneficial . . . I will not be mastered by anything." [1 Corinthians 6:12] Tom puts the coffee and the donuts back down, and instead reaches for the skimmed milk, a bowl of "Grape-Nuts," and a grapefruit.
Tom kisses Darla goodbye and says, "Honey, I love you so much! Pray for me today and I will pray for you; this 'walking like Jesus' is really a different way to live! Tom gets into his brand new red, Corvette convertible. Tom thinks about his job; he is a salesman at the largest "Chevy" dealer in the state. He thinks of how he had quickly become their top salesman and earned the right to have any car on the lot as his personal "demo," and he always chose the Corvette because he loved fine cars. He had always loved the way Corvettes "purred" and "rumbled." He had also loved speed.
As he pulls out onto the interstate he quickly goes through the gears, listening to the sweet sound of the engine and the clear whine of the manual transmission. As he reaches 63 mph he hits the cruise button and sits back for the 30-minute drive to work. As a "55 mph" speed limit sign flashes by, Tom begins to think about his speed and the conversation he had had with Darla last night about the radar detector. But he begins to rationalize that he is only "keeping up with traffic"; in fact, even at 63 mph, many cars and trucks were still passing him. Besides, he had once talked with a State Highway Patrolman who said they never gave anyone a ticket for going less than 10 mph over the speed limit. Any officer who did was harassed by the other officers for being too strict. But, finally the Spirit of the Living God breaks through his thoughts and reminds him of what Jesus would do, "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves." [Romans 13:1-2]
Tom knows that Jesus would never accept "going with the traffic flow," nor would He accept "the opinions of officers who were charged to uphold the law, but were actually changing it." No, He would be obedient to the letter of the law. So Tom, lightly taps the brake pedal and slows to 55, and reengages the cruise control. Suddenly, he realizes that if you try to live a holy life, as Jesus would, then you will be out of sync with the majority of the world, because it seems that everybody on the interstate is passing him--it is almost as if he had put his car into reverse! The big truckers are the worse, as they put their big rigs right on his bumper and flash their lights at the "slowpoke Corvette." Tom pulls over to the far right lane to avoid creating any more problems in the "fast lanes." Just then, a rude driver cuts in front of Tom and almost hits his car. Tom's normal reaction would have been to say something like "You idiot, you fool!" But this time he thinks of Jesus, who said, "I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell." [Matthew 5:22] So Tom, instead of cursing the inconsiderate driver, simply prays that the Lord will help that driver know the truth of the Word of God and enjoy the salvation from Jesus. And he thanks Jesus for his own salvation.
Tom arrives at work on time and he wonders, since he had driven slower, if the Word of God could be applied here, that, "Those who honor me I will honor." [1 Samuel 2:30] Had Jesus helped him make it to work on time even at the slower speed, by making the traffic flow better and the traffic lights sequence just right? As he walks into his private office (also a "perk" for being the consistent top salesman of this very large dealership) he sits down and grabs the morning newspaper and his usual cup of coffee. "Well," he thinks, "Today, I'm going to pass on the coffee, since caffeine is addictive and I won't be mastered by anything."
It is around eight o'clock when he opens the morning newspaper and he thinks to himself, "Would Jesus read the newspaper at work? Everyone else does it, there aren't any customers here yet, and besides, the owner of the dealership never comes in till around nine-thirty." Even as he thinks this he knows in his heart that the owner would rather have him get caught up on the closeout paperwork from previous sales. And, he knows what Jesus would do, for God's Word says, "Obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men." [Ephesians 6:5-7] So Tom puts away the newspaper and reaches into his in-basket.
Just then Mike Smith comes in with his coffee, and sits down and starts to chat with Tom. "Well, what did you think of the Super Bowl game yesterday?" Tom suddenly realized that after He and Darla had had their discussion about walking a holy life in Christ that he never did find out who won the game. So now he faces a decision: does he fake it with Mike, or will he be bold and tell him what happened? Surely, Mike will make fun of him, but the words of Jesus are clear in Tom's mind, "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." [Mark 8:38]
So Tom says, "I only watched half of the game, because Darla and I were offended by some of the commercials. We turned it off because we knew that it was offensive to Jesus." There, he had said it. Mike smiles and says, "Well, Tom Harper has 'done got religion!' Get a grip Tom; God doesn't care about commercials. He's got bigger fish to fry! Let's change the subject. I heard the funniest joke yesterday about the President." Mike proceeds to tell Tom a joke about the President of the United States that slanders his character and makes fun of his office. Normally Tom would have laughed at the joke, but as Mike is telling it, Tom thinks of Jesus and how He would react to the joke, and the Holy Spirit brings a Scripture to mind, "Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people." [Acts 23:5] So, when Mike is done with his joke, Tom doesn't laugh, but rather changes the subject. Mike gets the message, makes an excuse and leaves.
As Tom begins working, he starts to think about the first sale of the day that will surely soon occur. He begins to think about the techniques he uses in getting people to buy cars. How will they square with what Jesus would do? Before, he had always left his Christianity at home, in that when he got to work he just "did his thing his way" and really didn't apply the Bible to the way he did his job. However, with his new commitment to holiness things might be different. How would Jesus sell new cars to people? Tom knows all the tricks of trying to get the customer into the most expensive car possible, because that means more commission for Tom. But he knows that Jesus would never pressure people into buying more than they could afford. He quickly remembers a Scripture that speaks to that, "Love your neighbor as yourself." [Matthew 19:19]
What about credit then? Tom knows how to get buyers to finance with the dealer, always at the highest interest rate possible. Yet, he knows that Jesus would follow the Word of God which says, "He who increases his wealth by exorbitant interest" "and makes unjust gain from [his] neighbors by extortion." [Proverbs 28:8, Ezekiel 22:12] would face troubles in their lives [discipline or judgment implied]. He knows Jesus would not like the "Bait and Switch" technique which is commonly used at his dealership—the trick where you send out "Mr. Nice Guy" salesman to the newly arrived prospective customer, a salesman who is very friendly and puts no pressure on them--who couldn't be nicer. But "Mr. High Pressure," a slick operator replaces "Mr. Nice Guy" and before the customer knows it, he has just bought a new car at a premium price and given his trade-in to the dealer for practically nothing.
Jesus would clearly not tolerate such deception for the Scriptures clearly state, "Do not deceive one another." [Leviticus 19:11] Tom takes a moment to pray to Jesus and asks for forgiveness for his past behavior, because he was the number one "Mr. High Pressure" at this dealership and had never thought anything about it until today. Tom thinks to himself, "But can you sell cars by just being nice to people and helping them buy what they can afford and no more? What if I do that and I'm not the top salesman any more? I will lose my private office and my Corvette demo, and most likely will have to drive a Chevy Cavalier! Now this whole idea of living like Jesus and walking in holiness was getting costly. Maybe he should call Darla and call this whole thing off--no, she will never accept that."
Meanwhile, Darla has finished breakfast and is getting the children ready for day care. She had thought during breakfast, "What would Jesus have done differently this morning than I have." One conclusion she had reached was that if Jesus were the wife, He would have gotten up earlier and prepared breakfast for Tom and the children, rather then letting them fend for themselves, for the Scriptures state that the godly wife, "Gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family." [Proverbs 31:15]. She knows that she is so tired and had to get ready to go to work herself, but she purposes that tomorrow morning she will attempt to get up early and set out a hearty breakfast for her family.
Darla's job as a well-known fashion designer in New York City demands that she wear the latest fashions to work so that the customer can see some of the selections on more than just mannequins. Fortunately, she does not have to buy the dresses she wears for they would be too expensive for their family. This morning, as she looks at her wardrobe she has to ask herself the question, "What would Jesus do?" "Well," she thinks, "For sure he would want me to dress modestly, for the Bible says, "I want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes." [1 Timothy 2:9] Suddenly she feels embarrassed, for she realizes, for the first time, that none of her designer dresses are very modest. They all have low necklines and high hemlines. Why didn't she see that before? She had just thought she was dressing with the style of the day. Now, her pledge to her husband and to Jesus, that she would walk in holiness by doing what Jesus would do no matter the cost, makes her quickly grab her sewing basket to let out the hem in one of the dresses and pin the top closed to raise the neckline to a modest position. As she looks in the mirror she thinks of her boss Leo, and knows that he isn't going to like this. He was always asking for lower necklines and higher hemlines because he says, "That's what the customer wants," (but in reality he was a man filled with lust and everyone knew it). "Oops," she thinks, "Jesus would not have been pleased with my negative thoughts of Leo." She realizes that there is some deep resentment and hatred towards him in her heart, and the Holy Spirit brings to mind a passage of Scripture that says, "Do not hate your brother in your heart." [Leviticus 19:17] Darla remembers that Leo is just a lost man who is blind, who cannot control his sexual appetite and has no understanding of God's truth. So she prays for forgiveness of her attitude towards him and prays for his salvation.
As she hurrys to finish dressing, her five year-old daughter, Jennifer, comes in and says, "Mommy can you tie my shoes?" Darla quickly responds with, "Can't you see that Mommy is busy and doesn't have time--wear your slip-on 'tennies.'" Then Darla thinks, "Would Jesus have said that? No, for He is the One who said, 'Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.' [Matthew 5:42] Surely, all Jennifer wanted was to borrow some of my time." So Darla calls her back and says, "Jennifer, Mommy will be glad to tie your shoes, and they will go better with your outfit than the 'tennies.'"
Darla then starts to fix her hair, which isn't much these days. Leo, her boss, had suggested that she get her long hair cut off because the "in look" was to have short hair, very short. Tom had objected because he loved Darla's long flowing hair, but Darla had yielded to her boss' wishes and not to her husband's. What would Jesus have done? The Word of God says, "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord." [Ephesians 5:22] All she had had to do was submit to Tom, but she was so stubborn. Now her short hair is a contentious issue with them--Tom likes her in long hair and he even claims that she looks like a boy with her short hair. Darla wonders as she fixes her hair, "Does it really matter how long a woman's hair is?" She thinks of Jesus and asks, "Jesus, what length hair would you wear if you were a woman?" The only Scripture Darla can think of is the one Tom had often quoted to her, "Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering." [1 Corinthians11:14-15] Darla vows to let her hair grow back to restore her glory and to please her husband.
Darla gets her two children in the van and starts off toward the day care center. She remembers that she had forgotten to take her birth control pill, so she reaches in her purse for the case. As she gets it out she thinks of Jesus. What would He do? This was a tough one, for she and Tom had had long discussions about children and the best number to have. They had decided that two would be enough considering their budget, the expense of raising children, and the time demands that more children would require. They had tried to be wise but she realizes that they hadn't prayed about their decision. Now she remembers some verses that she had heard once at a woman's Bible study from a woman that had six children! These verses proved that God is sovereign in the opening and closing of the womb, "The LORD had closed [Peninnah's] womb." [1 Samuel 1:5] Also, When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren." [Genesis 29:31] "Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb." [Genesis 30:22]
She remembers verses that gave clear commands about children. God had said to Adam and Eve, "Be fruitful and increase in number." [Genesis 1:22] He had said to Noah and his sons "be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it." [Genesis 9:7] She remembers the verse that explains why God wants Christians to have lots of babies, "Because He was seeking godly offspring." [Malachi 2:15], but she argues with herself in her mind, "What if we can't afford them? Jesus what about all the money for the extra food, clothes and things that they will need (education, medical care, braces, etc.)?" Once more Scripture comes to mind in answer to her last concern: Jesus said, "Do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." [Matthew 6:31-33]
Darla tosses the pill to the back of her throat and swallows it, but makes a mental note that she and Tom need to have "a talk" tonight about children, and need to ask God what He wants for their lives. As Darla pulls into the parking lot of the day care center she hears the familiar whine from her two children, who never like to leave their mommy. Darla thinks again of Jesus and what He would do. She is very familiar with verses that speak of a woman staying at home and raising her children. There is the one that says if you don't meet the needs of your immediate family then you have denied the faith and were worse than an unbeliever. [1 Timothy 5:8] "What are the needs of these two little ones, and am I meeting them?" she wonders. She thinks also of the verse that says that a "good deed" of a mother is that of "bringing up children." [1 Timothy 5:10] She thinks to herself, "Who is really bringing up my children: me or the workers at the day care center? Do they really have the time or desire to really show love to my children and to teach them godly principles? My children spend most of their waking hours, every work day, every week, at this day care." Lastly, she thinks of God's direct counsel to young women, "to marry, have children, and to manage their homes." [1 Timothy 5:14] Darla feels uncomfortable leaving her children but she walks them inside, kisses them goodbye and goes back to her car.
As she leaves the day care parking lot to head for the train station, she prays to Jesus that He will give she and Tom wisdom about her job. She remembers a preacher who once said, "That if what we do as Christians is applauded and accepted by the 'world' then most likely it is not applauded or accepted by God!" He said that the world loves working wives and small families, and it seems to look down on homemakers and women with lots of children. Once on the train to New York City, Darla settles down to read a good novel, her usual practice during the 45-minute ride, to the city on the express train. As she finds the place where she left off on Friday, she realizes that Jesus wouldn't read such a book. It was a worldly book full of sinful things under the guise of entertainment; there was murder, drunkenness, adultery and the occasional misuse of God's name. How could she have been entertained by such stuff? She puts the book back in her purse, thinks about it for a moment, then pulls the book out again and reaches over to the trash can, where she drops it in with the other trash.
She then "fishes around" in her purse until she finds her travel Bible and then in the full view of everyone she reads it, something she never would have done before. Today she was walking as Jesus would!
When Darla arrives at work everyone there was quick to notice her recently modified modest dress. There is not a lack of comments, with almost everyone saying the same thing, "Wait until Leo gets a look at you!" As Darla arrives at her desk, her best friend at work, Rachel, comes to her and also comments on her dress. She asks Darla, "Why the sudden change?" Darla thinks of Jesus and how He would answer Rachel; surely He would remind me to " . . . give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." [1 Peter 3:15] and "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." [Luke 9:26] So Darla looks right at Rachel and says, "Rachel, I have decided to live my life like Jesus would want me too--no more compromises. If Jesus wouldn't do it, then I won't either. Jesus wants women to dress modestly, and I will--no matter what the cost!" Rachel isn't a Christian and usually avoids people who "act religious" so she politely excuses herself and leaves.
Darla gets out her latest fashion designs and notices that they are immodest, so she takes her eraser and makes some needed modifications that surely please Jesus. Darla has never felt better because she has no guilt about the designs. Just then the phone rings and it is the day care center, saying that Jennifer was sick with a fever and had to be picked up as soon as possible. Darla talks with Jennifer and assures her that "someone" will soon come by to pick her up, but Mommy can't leave work right now, because she has to show her latest designs to her boss in thirty minutes. Jennifer keeps crying for her mommy, saying, "I don't want somebody else's mommy to pick me up--I want my mommy to come and get me!" Darla calls her best friend from the church, Janet, who is a homemaker with four children. She is always so sweet and willing to help Darla. Janet is soon on her way to get Jennifer and Little Tommy, and Darla is on her way to Leo's office.
As she gathers up her latest designs, about to walk out of her office, Rachel shows up and asks Darla if she has a minute to help her with a personal problem. Darla says, "Sure," thinking, "I know Jesus would." Rachel has a personal problem in her marriage. She has "fallen out of love" with her husband and is getting interested in another man at work. But she is confused and feels guilty about it all. Since Darla had shared with her this morning about her commitment to Christ, Rachel thinks that Darla may have some answers or guidance to share. Darla takes the opportunity to explain to Rachel the number one reason why marriages fail--because people can't really love until they have first received the love of Christ through His shed blood on the Cross of Calvary. Only then, can a husband and wife treat each other as Christ would, practically guaranteeing married bliss. Rachel is listening intently as Darla shares her faith. Just then in walks Leo, who had overheard part of their conversation.
Leo, said, "Darla, where have you been? You were supposed to be in my office ten minutes ago!" With that Leo storms out without waiting for an answer. Darla says goodbye to Rachel and rushes to Leo's office with her latest drawings (the newly modified ones). As she walks in Leo says, "What did you do to your dress? It looks awful. What are you anyway, some sort of missionary or something?" Darla tries to explain that she is trying to live out her faith, but Leo couldn't care less. "Keep your religious talk to yourself--I'm not interested. Let's see your latest designs." As he looks them over Darla can see his face getting redder and redder. Finally he says, "Darla, what is all this junk? These are not the fashions that our customers would like; these look like uniforms for the Salvation Army!" Darla tells him that she cannot, in all honesty, to herself and to her Lord, design clothes that are not modest. Leo, interrupts and says, "Look, I only care about one thing and that's making money. We make money by designing and selling fashions that people want. If they want immodest clothes then that's their problem, not ours. So if you want to continue to work here, get back to your desk and redo these drawings and make them 'immodest'--do you hear me?"
Darla, who is about to cry, turns to leave but remembers Jennifer; controlling herself she faces Leo and says, "Sir, I have a sick daughter at home and I need to take some family leave to go home and care for her." Leo replies, "All right, go ahead and go home, and while you are at home I want you to think about three things. First, think about our dress standards around here; we dress the way our customers want us to. If they like low necklines and high hemlines then that's what you will wear. Secondly, think about your designs; they also must meet our customer's needs. Lastly, I don't appreciate your sharing your religious beliefs with Rachel. Religion and business don't mix (Now, in reality, Leo said this because he is the man at work that Rachel is interested in and he fears that after Darla's little talk, that Rachel will try to work things out with her husband). Leo finishes with, "When you decide to come back to work, be sure to leave your God at home!"
Darla leaves work and goes home. She prays to Jesus and thanks Him for showing her so clearly what she should do about her job. It is clear that if she is to walk a holy life like Jesus did, then she can't work for that company any longer. As she picks up her children at Janet's house, she shares her day's experiences with Janet. Janet listens and then says that she had felt a special burden that day to pray for Darla, and she promises she would continue to pray for her.
Darla leaves with her children and arrives home where she spends most of the afternoon coloring with them and reading them Bible stories. That night Tom comes home late and after supper they share in detail all they had experienced and learned throughout that day. They both agree that they had learned more about what it meant to be a Christian than they ever imagined. Before this experience they had thought that by going to Sunday School and Morning Services, attending the Wednesday Night Prayer meeting, reading their Bibles nearly every day, praying often, and witnessing to a lost person once in a while—that that was what Christianity was all about. However, after just 24 hours of trying to walk like Jesus did, they saw things differently. They had experienced a cost of Christianity that they had not known existed.
No wonder Jesus had said, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters -yes, even his own life - he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple." [Luke 14:26-27] Jesus wants us to count the cost of being a Christian. Walking in holiness is as simple as living each moment in the way that Christ would live it if He were in our shoes, for in fact, He is--"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." [Galatians 2:20] Amen.Written and Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Sermons and Articles" Collection by:
Bible Bulletin Board
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