From somewhere in junior high until my junior year in high school I quit “going to church.” Then one day I discovered that a girl I liked went to church where I used to attend. What better reason to start back then being able to see a girl, right? So the next opportunity I could find, I dressed up and headed to Sunday night worship. I slipped into the next to back row and looked around. Well, guess what? She wasn’t there. Now I was in a dilemma. It wouldn’t be right to leave, that would make things worse in case I wanted to come back, so I had no alternative but to listen to the lesson.

I can’t tell you the details of the lesson or even its title. I don’t remember a word, but I do remember that something said hit home to me. I listened carefully and when we stood to sing the invitation song I told myself, “If they sing the third verse of this four-verse song, I’m going forward to rededicate my life.”

Guess what! They went right into the third verse. It had been so long I forgot they usually sing all the verses of an invitation song. However, keeping my promise to myself, I stepped out and from that point on my life was changed. I have no idea what would have happened if they had skipped the verse that night.

A few weeks later I looked over, and there was the girl. Oh, not the one from the first night. One whom I had never met. She was two years younger than me with dark hair and beautiful eyes. Now, we’ve been married over 50 years.

Toward the end of the movie “National Velvet,” Velvet’s mother and father are discussing monetary offers that had come in because Velvet had won a horse competition. Mr. Brown wanted to take them all. Mrs. Brown was skeptical, so they left it up to Velvet. Velvet thought and with tears in her eyes refused because she felt it wouldn’t be right to put the horse through all the fanfare.

Mr. Brown was frustrated until Mrs. Brown posed the thought. The age-old question she asked,  “Is it okay to do the right thing for the wrong reason or the wrong thing for the right reason?”

We are posed with this question every day in all walks of life. I think back and know that I did the right thing by attending church services, but for the wrong reason. On the other hand, sometimes we make decisions to do things that are wrong, but we do them because we feel it’s the right thing to do. The thing about it is that God can take whatever we do and turn it into good as long as we’re doing the right thing or doing it for the right reason.

We’ll all face things that we start off doing for the wrong reason and feel great when it all turns out the way it was meant to be. Then there will be the times that we get in trouble because we do something wrong, but then not feel guilty, because we know the reason we did it happened with good intent and that God will understand. That’s the kind of God we serve.

Proverbs 2:7-9 gives us Solomon’s view of what is right. “He holds victory in store for the upright; he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path.”(NIV)

 Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ

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