Friday, June 10, 2011

"Do Better Now, My Child"

"He came to my desk with a quivering lip,
The lesson was done.
'Have you a new sheet for me, dear teacher?
I've spoiled this one.'
I took his sheet, all soiled and blotted,
And gave him a new one all unspotted,
And to his tired heart I cried.
'Do better now, my child.'

I went to the throne with a troubled heart,
The day was done.
'Have a new day for me, dear Master?
I've spoiled this one.'
He took my day, all soiled and blotted,
And gave a new one all unspotted.
And to my tired heart He cried,
'Do better now, my child.'"

     I heard this today on Ravi Zacharias' weekly program "Let My People Think." It really encourages me. I am, by personality, a perfectionist. If I know I can't do it best, I often don't want to do it at all. This poem was written by a teacher, (Kathleen Wheeler), so I can just imagine what senario brought this about. I can just imagine this child, maybe about 6 or 7 years old, hunched over his school desk, his whole concentration fixed on writing his letters on a sheet of paper already blotched by pencil smudges and eraser crumbs. He finally sits up, but instead a satisfied smile, he sighs and slowly rises from his seat and walks toward the teacher's desk. "What will my teacher say?" he wonders. "What will she do to me? Will she punish me? I tried so hard!" But as he approaches her, she looks down into his face. See, his teacher is wise, and she has been watching him. She knows about his struggle in this particular subject, and she knows how hard he has tried. She knows what he will ask before he even opens his mouth. Her hand is ready to give him a new sheet of paper, and even as he speaks, she is drawing the paper out of the box, and reaching out to receive her beloved students work. The anxiety fades from the boys face as he receives a second chance, or maybe this is his third, or fourth. "Do better now, my child." His teacher encourages him.
     Like that little boy, we try so hard to please our Master and Teacher, Jesus Christ. We read in the Bible how He is holy and pure, and we read how we must be like him. 1 Peter 2:21 says, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps." We get up in the morning, determinded to do our very best that day to do everything we are supposed to do and, not mess up. Unfortunately, so often our day just does not go the way we want it to go. We don't get half of our to-do list checked off, or maybe we fly off the handle at a coworker, or worse, a family member. Then, at the end of the day, we come before God's throne. We think, "Well, here I am again! Why can't I ever get anything right?  Does it really do any good to try anymore? What will God think of me? Will he be mad at me?"
     1 John 2:1 says, "...And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:" We come before our Father, knowing our failures, knowing our own inconsistencies and sinful nature, and think, "He'll surely give up on me this time." It feels like that sometimes, doesn't it? However, our Father knows our failures also. He knows what we are going to say before we say it, and He is waiting there for us. He's been watching us throughout our day, He sees how hard we try, and He sees when we fail, but He is always ready to forgive us, and to give us a new day, a second chance. He has given us an Advocate, His own Son. It is by Him that we have second chances. Praise the Lord for his unspeakable gift!

Attitude check?!?!