Devotional: October 25th
You've been in the situation. You've been invited to someone's home for supper. You arrive just a little early so as not to offend the people who invited you. Then you ask to be excused to use their bathroom. Once you finish in the bathroom you feel it only proper to wash your hands. You now are faced with a dilemma . You have to establish which bar of soap you are supposed to use in washing your hands and then which towel you are to use to dry them. That's right. Which soap and towel are solely for decorations and which are meant to be used?
It's social gaff time, folks. Or, "How to offend your hosts without really trying." Let's get to the meat of this situation. When it comes to which soap to use always look for a single bar that is lying separate. That usually indicates previous use which no self-respecting husband would do with a decorative bar of soap, not if he expected to get his meals cooked and have a place beside his wife in bed at night. O lot of people now have the little soap bottles with the pump in them. Use that if there are bars and you're unsure. But never, ever remove a colored bar of soap from its nesting place in a basket. That is a no-no.
As for the towel, most people don't hang towels with decorative borders and designs with the intent that they are to be used. Those towels are definitely meant for decorative purposes only. Look for the "plain Jane" towel, the solid colored hero that hangs slightly askew. If you're still unsure apply a little common sense. Which towel in the bathroom looks as though it has nothing to do with the décor? That's the towel to use. Once you finish with it make sure it goes right back in its place hanging neatly.
Why do I even bother to bring up things such as this? Because Jesus did. Jesus spent the entire "Sermon on the Mount" giving us the proper social graces for life in the kingdom of God. From respecting the lives of others (Matthew 5:21-32) to how to impress God with your sincerity (Matthew 7:21-23), Jesus covers it. Jesus also covers some subtle things that uniquely touch on His own character to serve without pronouncement. Basically, He was letting us in on how not to offend God in His creation.
The advice is fairly simple. Don't get goaded into unnecessary fights (Matthew 5:38-42); treat your enemies as well as you do your friends (Matthew 5:43-48); don't give charitably or pray or fast for show by haughtily flaunting it (Matthew 6:1-18). As a kind of coverpiece for all this Jesus gives some rather important advice in one simple verse. "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:33 Not just the food and clothing that directly preceded that statement, but those things that feed righteousness and clothe one in Godliness. God's social graces are the blessings He provides others through us.
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