Whiny Lawnmower

I have spent the better part of the morning trying to get my lawn under control. My riding mower blades quit turning two weeks ago and the push mower wouldn’t start. I got the push mower going Wednesday and mowed the front lawn which wasn’t too bad, but the backyard is angry and hard to deal with, like some people I’ve met. I got out there early to try and beat the heat and ended up dealing with the damp, so my mower keeps clogging up and quitting. It’s whining.

As I was sitting here thinking about the whiny lawnmower not wanting to work, I was hit with the irony that I am very much like that whiny lawnmower. I want the effect of a neat yard, but I don’t want to have to put in the work required to make it, so I whine and complain and throw metaphorical (okay sometimes literal) tantrums.

I often complain about the tools I have to work with, which were free by the way, because they don’t work to the optimum level and often need tweaking before I can even start work. Then I think about God using us, broken vessels, to do His Work. He has to clean us up and put us back together before He can even use us. Then he has to deal with constant upkeep. It’s a wonder that he doesn’t just throw us on the trash heap and move on to something new.

I don’t really have a choice about the tools I use because I can’t afford new, and the tools I do have were gracious gifts from other people. God had a choice. He could have written us off and just moved on, but he chooses to work with broken vessels, no matter how much they complain about it.

I am only the clay, so who am I to complain to the maker, the potter, about what he does with me: “But now, O Lord, thou are our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand” (Isaiah 64:8). God is using us to do His will even though sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. He works with broken vessels so that His power is shown: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). We should be thankful that God uses us at all. He loves us so much that he not only uses us, but He is working toward making us a whole, one broken piece at a time.

In the meantime, I’ll try to work on the complaining bit…


A Different Approach

I was playing a computer game and stuck on a particular level. I had come to the conclusion that I did not have the hand-eye-coordination required to complete the level, especially since it was timed. I had attempted it countless times and was about to give up on the game altogether when I looked at the options for “Power Ups,” which are extra help you can purchase with game coins. I had coins, so I chose an automated helper to click the appropriate tiles for me, and with the help of the “power up” I was able to get more than double the required points to move on to the next game board. It was a different approach than the one I had been using, and it worked.

It hit me that this concept could be applied to another issue in my life that I kept trying to work on but can’t seem to get resolved so that I can move forward. I have tried everything that I can think of but to no avail. I need a different approach because what I have been doing is clearly not working. I need a “power up”.

In the game, the power up button had been there the whole time, but I overlooked it as I continued to drudge away in my own manner. In my real life, there is also a “power up” that I have been overlooking, or just failing to push the button to activate it. We all have a “power up” at our disposal if we are Christians. We have the ultimate power in the universe: God.

The Holy Spirit is often referred to as power from God: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit is our “power up” which connects us to the power of God with whom nothing is impossible.

So, now I just have to hook up to the power station, make sure the connection is right, and wait for the power to do its work.


What are you willing to go through to make your dream a reality?

I don’t know about you, but I often have great intentions and plans at the start of a project. I am excited and enjoy the process of seeing something start to take shape. However, somewhere in the middle there comes a place where you have to decide to finish no matter what. There comes a time when you lose your momentum, you get tired…maybe even bored, and you let it go by the wayside…waiting in a forgotten corner. Or, maybe you hit a snag or problem, like running out of supplies. Either way for some reason the project halts mid-course.

The Israelites had a similar problem. The temple was destroyed, but the people were allowed years later to come back and rebuild it. The project was started with great enthusiasm. The rubble was cleared out and the foundation laid: the start. After a few years, they ran out of resources, and then they faced opposition from their enemies, so they stopped (Ezra 3). Part of the issue was the opposition, and part was procrastination.

Opposition does not always mean you are going the wrong way. Sometimes it is proof that you are going in the right direction. The trick is to figure out whether God is trying to keep you from making a mistake, or if He is testing your willingness and building your character for whatever He has called you to do. The key is knowing God’s will. If God has called you to do something, then you should expect opposition since the enemy is always at war with those who follow God. You only have to look at the life and ministry of Christ to see that he was always being opposed by the religious leaders of that day who felt their power was being threatened. When you know that it is God’s will, then you have to press on even in the face of opposition.

The other enemy we face is ourselves. We procrastinate when things get difficult, putting off to tomorrow what we should do today. Just this morning I had to force myself to take care of a couple of tasks that I had been putting off all week because they were tedious. Now that those tasks are done I feel much freer, like a weight has been lifted.

We can’t let opposition, either from our enemies or ourselves, keep us from completing the tasks before us. “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof; and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit” (Ecclesiastes 7:8). While we may love starting new projects, there is something satisfying about completing a project. So, dust off your vision from God and push past the opposition, external and internal, and move forward. The end will be well worth the effort.