We actually had someone say to us, “How do you get them to sit in the car seat?”
We looked at each other, more than slightly appalled. Finally Keith said, “I’m bigger than they are.” Funny how these parents can manage to get it done now when they would get in trouble with the law if they didn’t.
So our boys knew that they were always to be buckled in when we got in the car. When they could finally do it themselves, they did. It reached the point that I no longer checked on them.
A little over twenty years ago we had a head-on collision. It could have been much worse than it was. Keith has a plastic eye socket to show for it, and I have a neck that gives me grief on a fairly regular basis.
The boys are fine, but when I turned around to check on them after the crash, I had a moment of shock. Nathan was sitting in the middle of the back seat instead of his normal place behind his dad. The seat belt on his side had not worked so he simply moved over to one that did. He never said anything, never asked what to do, never thought about sitting there without a seat belt. I never knew about it until that moment. Because of his training, that ten-year-old had a sense of ought—“I ought to be buckled in”—and that may have saved his life, and certainly saved him injury.
Christians should have a sense of ought born of integrity and diligence. They do what needs to be done without being told—in fact they look for things that need to be done. A Christian would never see a problem and say, “that’s So-and-So’s job,” and leave it undone when he is already there and could take care of it quickly and easily.
A Christian does not have to be coerced or cajoled into doing right. It should shame a church when the elders must beg them to save seats or parking spaces for the visitors. It should make us cringe to think we need some sort of metaphorical carrot (or stick) to do what anyone with a little thoughtful consideration would do, whether he was a Christian or not.
A Christian does right whether anyone else does it or not. “They don’t do it, so why should I?” would never enter his thoughts. “He gets away with it,” would make no difference to him because he does what he should simply because he “ought” to do it.
My little boy found another reason for doing what he ought to do—it kept him safe. I doubt he has ever forgotten that lesson. Our true test of spirituality is this—can we see that the “oughts” in this life will keep us safe in the next? They all stem from a deeper perspective than self. Maybe sitting in a certain pew won’t really send us to hell, but the attitude that our conveniences and preferences are more important than a lost soul surely might.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness? 2 Pet 3:10,11.