A clerk in a small town store said to the pastor, “I know she is a member of your Church, but she is the most difficult person to wait on when she comes into my store.” A traveling salesman said, “I know he is on your committee and so far as I know, he is honest, but in the business world it would be easier to get along with the devil.”
Make no mistake, a bad disposition is a tragic curse in any life. Have you ever stopped to consider that the sins of the spirit can negate your Christian usefulness and cancel your Christian influence as quickly as any of the sins of the flesh?
At times we recognize the unlovely traits in all our lives. The question is – Why? What happens? What brings them about?
There are several suggestions to these questions. The first and most obvious is self-centeredness. The most prominent words in the human vocabulary are “I, me and mine.” And when we get honest with ourselves, we know that this is the soul and substance of most of our spiritual problems. We have not yet learned what it means to “deny self and take up the cross.”
Another source of the problem is a distorted sense of values. Someone has pointed out that you can shut out the light of the sun with a penny if your hold it close enough to your eye. Life can get cluttered up with such little, insignificant things.
What can we do to cure a bad disposition? There are some homes in our country which practice an unusual custom at dinner time. In setting the table, they always provide an extra place, one more than is needed. There will be an extra chair, an extra plate, cup and saucer and an extra set of utensils. If you ask the reason for this, they will explain that it’s to remind them of the presence of their “Unseen Guest.”
I am not sure what I think of that procedure, but I know that by some means we all need to be reminded of the abiding presence of our Lord. Such an awareness would make a measurable difference in the quality of our lives. Can you imagine standing in the presence of the One who “though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor,” the One who “had not a place to lay His head” – can you imagine standing in that presence and complaining about your difficult life? Could you look into His face and see the marks of the thorns on His brow, and the scars in His hands, and complain that someone had hurt your feelings?
If we could only cultivate a consciousness of the presence of Christ, I am convinced we would live with less gloom and self-pity, less pettiness, less sulking and pouting, less unkindness and less temper tantrums. For in His presence we can only be our best; and if we would only know it, we are in His presence all the time.