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WHEN THE “GOOD” SUPERSEDES THE “BETTER”

by Robert Heid

William Robert Heid (1917-1986)

From Word & Work 1985

To the Pharisees, Jesus once said; .. .“these things ye ought to have done, and not to have left the other undone.” Again to Martha, He said ; “Mary hath chosen the better part, which shall not be taken from her.” In Christian life there are things that are good, and other things that are better. There are attitudes that are commendable, while others are yet more commendable. To the Colossians, Paul said, “Set your mind on things that are above.”

We are living in a rash of tragedies, catastrophes, calamities—the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, the riot at Miami, refugees drowning enroute to Key West, the military fiasco in Iran, the collapse of Sunshine Bridge at Tampa, Collapse of the oil rig off shore at Houston— to name a few.

All such news burdens our hearts and commands attention, prayer, and reflection as we consider that many of the victims were likely un-prepared to meet their Maker. Through the eyes of our Lord, we can see many who are like sheep without a shepherd, and we ought to pray and toil and give in order to alleviate such suffering wherever we can help. If the grievous times” are breaking upon this world, then Christians ought to be spending themselves as the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Our “savor” and “light” have never been needed so much as they are today. If I find myself in a “prayer rut” in days like these, I had better plead to God for compassion to be poured into my heart.

However, the cares of this world can combine to choke the word, insomuch that it will become unfruitful. We can be so deeply preoccupied with the flood of troubles, that we find ourselves out of tune to Worship God. We may become so impressed with the injustices of men toward each other, that we forget what really is the main problem in this world, and Who is the One Cure for all the woes of mankind.

The numbers who face “sudden death” are but a small percentage of the number who are going into a Christless eternity. Every earthquake, tornado, hurricane or holocaust ought to remind us that our Lord said, “unless ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

Satan will divert our attention in whatever way possible. If we get so busy in picking up the pieces that we cease teaching, preaching, studying the Word, or praying for a sincere and personal revival, then we are letting good works for the unfortunate crowd out our communion with the Lord and our sacrifice of prayer and praise that God will use to stay the plague. These we ought to have done, and not to have left the other undone.

-Robert Heid (1917-1986) was. Editor of Word and Work (1976-86); long time minister  at Nelsonville Church of Christ and Portland Avenue Church of Christ in Louisville, KY




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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10