Let’s start out with a confession. I am an Alexa addict. There it is. I said out loud what Doris has known all along. I am hooked on those little hockey pucks that sit all over the house and do what you tell them to do. “Alexa, turn on the hall light.” “Alexa, remind me to tell Doris I love her tomorrow.” “Alexa, turn off the reading lamp (that is 14 inches from where I am sitting right now.)” I just can’t help it. I have everything I can think of hooked up to dear old Alexa in our house. It’s a pretty neat deal except for two things. First, everything takes a conversation. No more just hitting the garage door opener with your elbow. No! Now, I’m on the phone with some pastor somewhere that has a broken heart and is pouring his soul out to me, but when I pull in the garage I have to say, “Excuse me, could you hold that thought just a second? Alexa, close the garage door.”  And secondly, you have to remember the exact name of everything in the house. I about killed Doris the other day while she was coming out of the laundry room with a huge pile of towels, and I said, “Alexa, test the fire alarm in the pantry.” It’s called a mudroom, not a pantry, and it’s on the other end of the house. Took me forever to gather all the towels from the kitchen cabinet tops.  

There is an app, or a program, or something that goes along with Alexa, or any smart home device. It’s called IFTTT, If This Then That. You can set it up so that when one action takes place, another immediately follows. “Alexa, turn on the evening lights.” She turns on the lights, then the TV then lights my pipe, and gets my slippers. It’s amazing! 

Well, I am a walking IFTTT. Only, it’s usually a good intention that immediately brings about some colossal failure. This time of the year my IFTTT app is working overtime. I make a commitment to read the Bible every day of the year, and my eyes start going crazy. I pledge to run or at least walk every day, and the snowpocalypse comes. Our church started a 21 day fast today. I decided to go without food for the first day. Took a walk this afternoon, to think about how happy God is going to be with me for my sacrifice and promptly came home and ate a bowl of chicken and dumplings. Pastor Bryce, did you say we are fasting until the 28th or until 2:28? Never fails, if I decide to so something good for God, some dumb mistake or lack of discipline pops right up. 

Here’s what dawned on me. We do not serve an IFTTT God. We serve a IFITGJTH God, If I Try God Judges The Heart. If I will give it my best shot, God will applaud my effort, not the outcome. When Samuel was trying to find a new king for Israel, he saw all of the wonderful successes of Jesse’s boys, but God chose the feeble little shepherd boy, David. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart,” He said. When the rich, fat cats, were making a big display of their giving and the widow just gave her two cents worth, Jesus said, “She gave more than all of the rest of them.” This is not an excuse for half-hearted effort, but it is a reminder that God knows the intention of my heart, even when I have a hard time doing the whole IFTTT thing. If I say I’m going to sacrifice, I should sacrifice. But when I come up short, God says, I see your heart. Good job.” 

I feel better already. Alexa, tell Doris to get supper ready! 

(Picture has nothing to do with the blog. I just love to show of my grandkids.)

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