Monday, July 24, 2017
This past week I have taken on a project bigger than myself: painting the garage. My garage is not just a double car size, it can house up to FOUR cars, so it is quite large. And made of concrete. It had about four, at least from what I scraped off, layers of paint. I did all of the prep work and, on a day when it was so hot, began as early as I could, to beat the heat.
When I finished, with the noon church bells pealing in the distance, I stood back, admiring my work. I had finished only one wall. This was going to take awhile, so I didn't fret about what I had accomplished thus far. I washed my tools out, covered the paint can and called it a day.
Later, in the cool of the evening, I went outside, pleased with my work. As I stood on the deck, I gave myself kudos for a job well done. From that vantage point, it looked good.
The next morning, as I walked alongside that same wall, I noticed spots that I had missed. They were tiny pin prick sized, but they were numerous! As thorough as I thought I was, I missed quite a bit and they were so easy to see up close; I was using beige over previous white! I sighed. Day two, I began another wall, but this time, I was prepared. I did what I thought again was a thorough job, I mean, I really lay that paint on thick. Again, when it dried, I noticed pin pricks of white through the new layer of beige. Day three, third wall. This time, however, I conversed with God about this issue.
What I heard was this:
"This is a metaphor of your life. Everyone's life. We go about blithely, doing what we think is good. In fact, we try extra hard to be that friend to others, we give, we love, we share...and at day's end, we think, 'ah, yes, I have done well!' In fact, though, if one looks under the surface, one can see where the blemishes show. One can see the scars, the hurts, the pain and more. How do we deal with that? We cover it up with lies, with excuses, with alcohol, with drugs, with overeating and more. From a distance, we look good. But as with a magnifying glass, the closer one gets to the problem, the more apparent it becomes."
And so it is with God. God knows our inner thoughts, our heart and how we think, act, what we do or say and more. To many, it looks good. And yes, many of us DO try as best we can. This is where we need to do an examination of conscience every evening. How did we fail/fall and how can we rise again? To just cover it up with excuses, telling ourselves that it really doesn't matter because "no one can see it...no one will know..." well, that is short sighted. God knows! How can you hide anything from Him? You can't.
This reminds me of a Bible Scripture. (Matthew 5:37) "Let your 'yes' mean yes and your 'no,' no. Anything else is from the evil one."
This summer I was asked at work if I was interested in being a part of a "summer garden" project that the school where I work has. I was to water it, students from an agriculture class were to be responsible for the harvesting and I then would process the produce. Sounded easy enough, I thought and agreed. The hard part, the harvesting, would be done by younger kids. I smiled at that part as I didn't know if I'd have the stamina to work in the hot sun. Turned out that the students suddenly came up with excuses as to why they didn't want to help. The green beans were growing daily and in need of being picked. I made phone calls and came up against...nothing. No one even responded. I was crushed. (Matthew 9:37) "The harvest is fruitful, but the workers, few..." I did get those beans harvested and there are more to come, beans as well as tomatoes, squash...the list goes on. Here's to hoping, right? Someone told me, "well, just don't do it! Don't go and do what others have said they should!" Well, I reasoned, I had an agreement and I am not one to shirk from it, even if it WAS something that was not part of the agreement, if I didn't do it, all of that produce would go to waste.
"Let your yes mean yes." I live by this. If you don't want to do it, say so, but don't agree and leave others hanging. Just as with my garage project, do a good job, look for the areas in which you can do better and then, make a go of it!
I went back over my work. Yes, I could hear that lazy voice inside my head telling me, "aw, it's just a garage, no one will know...no one will care..." but I know. I care. I made sure that all of my pin prick speckles were covered up. As I stood back once again to admire my work, I could see that it was indeed, a job well done.
Every day, I pray this prayer when I first arise and see the glory of a new day. Maybe it will help you, too. here it is:
Thank you, God, for this day. Help me in all that I think...and do...and say. Help me to be what You want me to be...and help others to see Jesus in me. Amen!
May you have a blessed day!
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