Doing the Right Thing – Pt 1
I grew up in a semi-devoted Roman Catholic family. My parents are good people, but my mom was never the religious type and my dad had more doubt than faith. The only religious influence on me and my sister was our grandmother even though she didn’t have spiritual understanding of the Bible. She didn’t understand grace, or Salvation, nor did she have an accurate view of God’s character or ways. Nevertheless, seeing her reading prayer books everyday encouraged me to read the New Testament.
In my early teens in the summer time as soon as it gets around 4 or 5 PM I would get ready to go play soccer and burst running out of the door in excitement! Just then I would hear my mom yelling to me, “Fadi, come take the garbage out!” After running for few more meters I would remember those words of our Lord in Matthew 21:28-31:
“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Matthew 21:28-31
Then I would stop and run back home because I knew if I didn’t do what my mom had asked me to do then I would be miserable for the rest of the day because of guilt. As I went back into the house my dad would see me and usually ask me to do something else like, “Good, you are back! Turn on the water and direct the hose to the garden.” And I would be upset thinking, “Great! Another reason to delay me from playing soccer!” So I would turn on the water and throw the hose on the grass and run out again. Then after a couple of meters I would remember the above verses, feel guilty, go back to the water hose and put it where I knew my dad wanted me to direct the water flow. This scenario repeated itself many times throughout the summers of my teenage years. I never liked being delayed from playing but nevertheless I did what my parents asked me to do.
One day I ran home to drink water and I overheard my mom telling our neighbor how if she could guarantee to have more sons like me she would have more children because I was so obedient! I thought to myself, “Obedient? Me? I HATE when they ask me to do something as I am going out to play!” I guess the bottom line to my mom was that I was obedient and that was the important thing.
I started working out (weight training) 3 years ago. I had started university and I missed the physical aspect of my warehouse/general labor job so I went regularly to the university gym. The first day at the gym I read this sign that says, “Please remove your weights from the equipment when you are finished.” So I always followed the rule, even though at times I didn’t feel like it because I knew I was coming back to the same machine in few minutes. But I always reasoned, “Hey, you are here to lift weights so this is just an extra exercise!” Many others, specifically men, did not bother removing their weights from the machines or returning the free weights to their stands.
Anyway, about a month ago I was at the upper level of the gym while most other people were at the bigger lower level of the gym. I was there alone with an older lady. Every time I finished from a machine I would remove my weights, and if I needed it again later I would return the weights, and so on. A part of me was thinking, “Why bother? There is almost nobody here!” Another part of me reasoned, “What if someone needed the machine? People are not responsible to move your weight. You are responsible for your own actions!” After 45 minutes the older lady came to me and said, “I commend you for always removing your weights from the machines. Sometimes I want to use a machine but I can’t because there are so many heavy weights on it! Thank you.” Again, it didn’t matter that sometimes I didn’t want to remove the weights, what mattered is that I did.