A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford

Joe DiMaggio still holds the MLB record for his 56-game hitting streak in 1941. His motivation to play well is interesting: “There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first time or the last time. I owe him my very best.”
Someone had paid to watch him play, and he was determined to give them his best. And he did just that, throughout his illustrious career.
But is that the very best motivation a man could have? To do well because someone is watching? Perhaps not.

Walt Handford pastored a large and spiritually-minded church here in Greenville for over 30 years. He was a godly man. He lived as he preached, loving and compassionate, but uncompromising about the essentials. Most of those years we lived right next door to the church in the church parsonage. Our seven rambunctious children were always under the eyes of the congregation, whether at play or at worship. Most of our church family were tolerant and understanding; they knew our flaws and faults and loved us anyway. Some, of course, had strong opinions that preachers’ kids should always be angelic.

It could have been a temptation to their father to warn the children always to be on their best behavior because people were always watching them. But he never said, “You never know where a church member might be lurking, kids, so whatever you do, behave!” Our goal for our children was for them to choose to do right, not because people were watching, but because God was watching over them with tender compassion, helping them to live good lives. God isn’t glaring down at the people on earth, hoping He’ll catch them doing something wrong, so He can whack them with a big stick! He loves us and wants us to prosper spiritually.
When I was a child, I loved to sing,

Oh, be careful little hands what you do,
For the Father up above is looking down in love,
So be careful little hands what you do.

Yes, Some One is watching you. He is “looking down in love.” Psalm 121:8 promises: “The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” The Almighty, Eternal Creator infinitely cares about you and watches over you—forever!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD.
“They are plans for good and not for disaster,
to give you a future and a hope.
In those days when you pray, I will listen.
If you look for Me in earnest, you will find Me when you seek Me.”
Jeremiah 29:11-13