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More Than Meets the Eye

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BOOK EXCERPT

More Than Meets the Eye

By Dennis E. Hensley

CBN.comA Majority of One

Years ago, when my children were still young, I took a job in a public relations department at a college. I had a great deal of freedom to come and go as I pleased. As long as I achieved the desired results, no one monitored my activities.

However, despite not having anyone to hold me accountable for my comings and goings, it seemed that the Holy Spirit made me very conscious of any weaknesses in my work habits. For example, if I arrived a few minutes late at my office in the morning or after lunch, I’d experience a terrible sense of guilt; it caused me to work late at the end of the day to compensate. Or, if I took someone to lunch to discuss college-related matters, I’d feel uneasy if the bill seemed too high for my expense account; so, I’d wind up paying for my own lunch out of my personal money.

Part of me resented the way I always was made to feel self-conscious about these situations. No one else in my department seemed to worry over such matters. My colleagues came in late and didn’t make up the lost time. They charged all of their expenses to their entertainment accounts without batting an eye.

“Why is it just me, Lord?” I wondered. “Why doesn’t everyone else feel honor bound to do what’s right? Why is it that the Holy Spirit just seems to be focusing on me?”

After several weeks of complaining like this, I received an answer from God. It came by way of a real-life illustration.

One Saturday afternoon my seven-year-old son came running into the house. He was all excited.

“Dad, the other kids are riding their bikes over to the park on the other side of town,” he told me. “I want to go with them. Is it OK?”

I grimaced and shook my head. “Sorry, pal, but that’s too far for a little guy like you to go by bicycle. I’ll drive you over in the car, though. You can meet your friends there.”

“No,” he protested with a whine. “We want to go on our bikes. Come on, Dad, I’ll be careful. It’ll be fun. Please, Dad?”

I smiled consolingly. “Not until you’re older, son. There are a lot of streets to cross between here and the park, and lots of busy traffic. I’d worry too much about you. Come on. We can put your bike in the trunk and you can ride it once you get to the park.”

He stamped his foot in anger. “You never let me have any fun,” he said loudly. “Mike’s dad is letting him ride his bike and so is Allen’s dad and Stuart’s dad and Joey’s dad. Everybody else is getting to ride a bike. Why not me?”

“Look,” I said flatly, “I don’t care how many other kids are riding bikes to the park. I still say it’s too dangerous for you and you aren’t going to do it. I love you, and I want what’s best for you. Now, you can either go over in the car or else stay here.”

After another ten minutes of railing against my unfairness (and getting nowhere), he finally gave up and let me drive him to the park. He sulked the whole way.

When we arrived, the other kids gathered around our car.

“Didn’t Stuart come with you?” they all asked.

“No,” I answered. “Was he supposed to?”

“Well ... no, not really,” said one of the older boys, “but he never showed up. We sort of outdistanced him a few blocks after we left home. We thought he probably went back to his house or to your place.”

I felt sudden concern. “You mean you lost him?” I asked. “You left little Stuart all by himself?”

“We thought he knew the way,” said another boy, looking down at his shoes.

“Quick! All of you! Into my car! Show me where you left him.”

We drove back to the street where the group had left Stuart. He wasn’t around. We went to a gas station and called our house and Stuart’s. He hadn’t been to either place. Stuart’s parents drove to our location to join our search. Everyone was becoming very concerned by now.

Fortunately, an hour later, we located Stuart. He was sitting in an alley, dirty and crying. His bicycle chain had snapped after he’d been abandoned. He’d tried to find his way back home, but he’d gotten lost.

After Stuart and his bike were both safe at home again, I thought it would be a good time to emphasize to my son how right I had been in not letting him go off on his bike with the other boys. But before I could begin my fatherly lecture, my words caught in my throat.

I suddenly remembered what I had said to my son earlier that day about how I hadn’t cared about how many other people were doing something I felt wasn’t right or good for him. That was exactly how my heavenly Father had been treating me!

No matter how many other people had been taking advantage of my employer, God had refused to let me be part of such behavior. I had been griping and whining about how “unfair” it all was, but God had not been swayed by my childish pouting and complaining. He had held firm to what was right and best for me. Now, I was able to see that.

I recalled how in Revelation 3:19 Jesus said, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline” (nasb).

I put my arm around my boy and said, “We’ve both learned a good lesson today, son.”

Scripture Verses to Ponder

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.
—Deuteronomy 7:6

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
—Joshua 24:15

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in this world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
—1 Peter 2:9–11

Questions to Consider

1. Can you remember being in school when you had to be up on all the latest trends and dressed in the most current fashions? Social scientists call this the “herd instinct.” We don’t want to feel out of place. Knowing this about human nature, what problems does this present when we feel we need to maintain our testimony when the crowd wants us to go or behave in another way?

2. What incidents from the Bible can you recall wherein one saint of the Lord had to stand alone against the masses? Begin by considering Noah, Job, Daniel, and Esther.

3. Without seeming to be a rabble-rouser, how can you make a stand for the Lord at work? in your neighborhood? among your social acquaintances?

4. Think for a moment of some recent situations in which you have taken a stand for the Lord by your actions or words or decisions. In what ways were you ostracized or criticized for this stand? How did you find strength through the Scriptures or prayer to enable you to hold to your convictions?

5. Does Satan also have his followers who are willing to take a stand for evil? What motivates them? To what ends should we, as Christians, go to resist their efforts to alter our government, our schools, our way of life?

Suggested Additional Reading

Anderson, James D. To Come Alive. New York: Harper and Row, 1973.
Barnes, Bob. Fifteen Minutes Alone with God, for Men. Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House, 1995.
Belew, M. Wendell. Churches and How They Grow. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1971.
Bridges, Jerry. I Exalt You, O God. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook, 2002.
Hunt, June. Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1989.
Weber, Stu. Tender Warrior. Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah, 1993.


"A Majority of One", Chapter 18, excerpted from More Than Meets the Eye, by Dennis E. Hensley. Published by Kregal Publications. Used by permission.

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