June 1, 2005
When elderly Adele Gaboury turned up missing, concerned neighbors in Worcester, Massachusetts, informed the police. A brother told police she had gone into a nursing home. Satisfied with that information, Gaboury’s neighbors began watching her property.
Michael Crowley noticed her mail, delivered through a slot in the door, piled high. He notified police, and the deliveries were stopped. Gaboury’s next-door neighbor, Eileen Dugan, started paying her grandson $10 twice a month to mow Gaboury’s lawn. Later Dugan’s son noticed Gaboury’s pipes had frozen, spilling water out the door. The utility company was called to shut off the water.
What no one guessed was that while they’d been trying to help, Gaboury had been inside her home. When police finally investigated the house as a health hazard, they were shocked to find her body. Police now believe that Gaboury died of natural causes four years earlier. The respectable, external appearance of Gaboury’s house had hidden the reality of what was on the inside. The same can be true of us if we focus on our outer appearance rather than our inner spiritual life with God.
David speaks to his son Solomon, “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.” 1 Chronicles 28:9)
Great words. But useless if only spoken with the lips. These words of David would have little impact on Solomon if David had not himself lived serving God with a whole heart and a willing mind. Too often we delude ourselves by thinking that the “little” compromises we make in our faith only effect us. But, the inner sins of the heart damage our relationship with God and our witness before others - especially our children.
We’ve just celebrated Mother’s Day. Father’s Day is coming. Ahead lies summer and increased “together” time as families. Parenting and my example to our children are very much in the forefront of my mind.
There is tremendous comfort and encouragement in these words - spoken by an adulterer and a murderer - “Seek God and He will let you find Him.” No matter what our sin, when we turn to God, He is willing to be found. Our calling as parents and as a children of God is not to be perfect - but to live seeking God with a whole heart - surrendered to Him - knowing Him - living in obedience to Him.
Our children - and others - don’t need parents who are outwardly pretending to be righteous. (They can see right through that anyway.) They need honesty and to see what is going on inside.
May our lives be transparent that our children may learn from us that what is outside is not as crucial as having a heart surrendered to God.