Clinging To ...
“I hate the work of those who fall away: it shall not cling to me” (NKJV, Psalm 101:3b).
There is a group of people who see themselves as quite innocent. They may even see themselves as “noble” or “righteous” because they are the ones willing to stand up for a cause. In their own eyes, they are not “falling away,” but leaving out of principle.
As a pastor, I get to live with the results of those who “fall away.” I had read Psalms 101 many times. The word “works” had never really meant anything to me. Last night, it jumped off the page. The “works” of those who fall away. Those who fall away don’t just create collateral damage. God describes it as “works.” They put time and effort into what they do. That time and effort creates results.
God also describes the third servant in the parable of the talents as “wicked and lazy” (Matt. 25:26). What was his crime? He simply did nothing with the talent the master had given him. We don’t think of the person who shrinks back that way. But Proverbs 18:9 says, “The one who is slack in his work is a brother to one who destroys” (NIV).
The Psalmist says that the works of those who fall away “shall not cling to me.” It takes a work of the will to overcome those who are slack. We instinctively know when others are not pulling their weight and it is hard to overcome that slap in the face that never occurs. There is nothing there to forgive. No action was done. Exactly. No action was done when one should have been done. The lack of action creates a level of suffering. The “works” are very real even if “nothing” happened.
God has given every person a job to do on this earth. Every person is created with a personality and a passion. A simple description of God’s work is for each one to be that God created person in a way that brings glory God and life to others. When one person is slack, it destroys. The absence is felt and there is pain.
“It shall not cling to me.” When one person is slack, others have to make up the difference. It is hard not to grumble when that happens, but grumbling just gives more power to the one who has fallen away. “It shall not cling to me.”
Psalm 101:6 says, “My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land.” Do you want to have a good life? Focus on the faithful. In a crazy world, it is hard to find those who stay faithful. The more attention we give to what is sick, the more power it has. The falling away causes others to fall away.
In an entitled world, those who are faithful do stand out. Don’t let others become your excuse to fall away. Those who simply stay on the path shine as “lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15). Keep going. Be a light!