Virtue and Praise

Philip looked up from his book and stared out the window. He put the book down and went outside onto the patio. The sun was going down and the air was especially clear this evening, creating a spectacular sunset. Bright orange, pink, and purple filled the sky.

Suddenly his father joined him. “Beautiful, isn’t it?” “Yeah, I haven’t seen one like this in a long time,” Philip answered.

They stood there a few moments longer, but the colors were already beginning to deepen. Before they went back inside, Philip’s father said, “I found this on the sofa. Is it yours?”

It was the book Philip had just laid down. “Yes, I just started reading it.”

“Did you read the back cover carefully? It doesn’t look like it will be very edifying.”

Philip hated to displease his father, but he thought the book had sounded quite exciting. Many of his friends had read it. He tried to explain.

His father sighed. “Our minds are an amazing creation of God. He made them able to be filled with millions of things—and He commanded us to fill them with only what is good.”

There was silence as they watched the last orange rays disappear. Then his father went on, “But I am glad you noticed this sunset. That’s like looking at a page in a book.” He handed the novel back to Philip and added, “A more elegant book.”

Philip knew his father was right, but being a Christian sure seemed like a lot of work sometimes. You always have to be careful. You always have to ask, “Is this good? Does this praise God?”

He went back inside and put the book on a stack to be returned to the library. Then he closed his eyes. He could still see the sunset in his mind and he smiled. Work? Yes. But to have his mind filled with good things worth it? Amen!


“Finally, brethren,…if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).