The water in the baptism tank this Sunday was quite cold despite having been diligently warmed all Saturday night Yet it didn’t dampen the rejoicing I saw in each face. Standing in cold water, they gave testimony to their salvation, with joy declaring that they are choosing to walk this road of obedience to the One who had saved them from their sin. It struck me that convenience is never the best guide to obedience. Stephen did not lay down his life to preach to his fellowmen because it was a matter of convenience (Acts 7); Philip did not travel to Samaria and through the wilderness because it was convenient (Acts 8); Ananias did not make his way through Damascus to heal a persecutor of the church because he didn’t have anything particular to do that day.
Obedience is the heart seeking the very first opportunity to do what God says. It is the Ethiopian eunuch coming across a pool of water in the wilderness and saying, “What prevents me from being baptized?” I hardly think that he got out first to make sure that the water was clean. I remember one of my first encounters with a simple man who would become my first spiritual mentor. I had just become a follower of Christ, and I watched him humbly picking up after a crowd had left the church fellowship hall, and I joined him in his quest to return the place back to normalcy. I was commenting on why people left such a mess when he stopped mid-trip to the garbage can, looked at me and asked, “Why do you think I do this?” Wisely, I chose not to show my ignorance by keeping silent. Sensing rightly that I had no answer, he said, “It’s the same reason why I call the sick or come early to get things ready, or give financially to the Lord. It’s not because I have time or money to spare. It is because I choose to obey my Lord, not my desire for what is convenient. I choose to obey Him because it is right.”