The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.” (Ex. 19:8)

I once heard a story about Wycliffe missionary Aretta Loving. While washing her breakfast dishes, Aretta saw Jimmy, her five-year-old neighbor, headed straight toward her back porch. She had just finished painting the back porch rails and was proud of her work.

“Come around to the front door, Jimmy,” she yelled out the window. “There’s wet paint on the porch rails.”

“I’ll be real careful,” Jimmy replied, not turning from his path.

“No, Jimmy! Don’t come up the steps!”

“I’ll be careful,” he said again, now dangerously close to the steps.

“Jimmy, stop! I don’t want carefulness. I want obedience!”

Aretta wondered how Jimmy would respond to her sternness. To her relief he shouted back, “All right, Loving, I’ll obey and go around to the front door.” Jimmy was the only one who called her by her last name like that, and it had endeared him to her from the beginning.

Mrs. Loving’s experience with Jimmy reveals how God must see us at times. Too often we rationalize like Jimmy did, saying, “I’ll be careful, Lord,” and then promptly proceed with our plan instead of God’s. In our reading today God promises that if we would obey, we would be His treasured possession. Let’s respond like Jimmy and say, “All right, loving God, I will turn around and obey You instead of going my own way.”

Ask the Lord to reveal any disobedience in your life, then change directions and obey.

Susan Browning Schulz is a wife and active mom of three grown children. She lives riverside in northwest Georgia and loves leading her small group.