Humbug?

Welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. My friend, may I ask you a question today? When it comes to your relationship with God, is there ever any room for less than total honesty? Failing the test of total honesty when in God’s presence is particularly troubling. God forgives a humbug but will he tolerate one?

My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day.

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I have four grandsons. The oldest is nearly thirteen, so he’s had years to accommodate himself to the nuances of knowing his Papa Brunner. The other three are getting there as well. I’ve always been a bit of a tease with my grandsons. When they visit me or I visit them they’ve come to expect a tall tale every now and then, a fabrication, a minor harassment or an outright humbug. I’m not sure where I picked up the habit and probably was similar interacting with my kids when they were young. Whatever the case, humbuggery with my grandsons is what I’ve come be known for. Recently I moved my aquarium from it’s traditional location in the kitchen to its new home in the Great Room. My oldest grandson was sitting at the table playing a card game and it suddenly struck me to comment on how beautiful the fish were today. It made him turn around to look and, of course, the tank was no longer there and he was staring at a potted plant instead. “Made you look!” He frowned as he turned back to his card game. It was a good humbug and I slyly smiled with satisfaction. He knows that I am always truthful when dealing with those things that really matter, but when it comes to those things that I can have fun with, he never knows what to expect.

Being a big of a humbug is fine as long as we don’t make that a habit which affects our honest relationship with others. However, when it comes to our relationship with God, there isn’t any room whatsoever for humbuggery. Failing the test of total honesty when in God’s presence is particularly troubling. God forgives a humbug but he won’t tolerate one.

Here’s a story. Dr. Madison Sarratt taught mathematics at Vanderbilt University for many years. Before giving a test, the professor would admonish his class something like this: “Today I am giving two examinations–one in trigonometry and the other in honesty. I hope you will pass them both. If you must fail one, fail trigonometry. There are many good people in the world who can’t pass trig, but there are no good people in the world who cannot pass the examination of honesty.” (George Sweeting)

Jesus taught in John 7:17 that . . . “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” Jesus here is challenging you and I to be focused on the will of God; focused to the point where we can honestly say that we are tuned into God’s will with all of our heart and mind. Many approach God in a spirit of deception, a holy humbug of sorts, by an dishonest appraisal of self-guilt, and a flawed sense of complete co