It is a breezy 65 degree day today. Far cry from the 19 degrees I woke up to yesterday morning but that is the east coast of Virginia for ya. On the agenda for the day – gutter cleaning. The text came early and I am thankful he remembered to remind me. Last year this time I woke up to a strange man outside my bedroom window and about freaked. With a thousand (slight exaggeration) pine trees (none of which happen to be in my yard) surrounding my house, clean up of pine straw and pine cones from the roof to the ground is always fun. (Not!) A few weeks back we worked really hard to get the whole yard clean so when the call came in that today was gutter cleaning day I kindly requested they bag the mess they tend to blow off the roof and leave piled in my flower beds, yard and sidewalks. “Sure, no problem!” I had asked a few years in a row for this to happen. I was hopeful.
Why I held high hopes that this year would be different is beyond me. For about 20 minutes the sky rained leaves, sticks, pine straw and muck. I watched out the window as the one guy on the roof was “supervised” by the two on the ground making sure (I guess) he held the blower just so. (Always curious why it takes one to work and two to watch but hey). I was sure at any moment they would begin to clean up all the junk that was piling up. I watched and waited. Then it happened. The two watchers watched as the one worker climbed down the ladder and carried it to the truck. He walked back up to blow off a spot as wide as my car in the drive way, looked around and headed back down the drive way to his truck. They started to actually get in the truck and that is when I opened the door (Snapped actually, if I am honest). “Ummmm are you really going to just leave this everywhere?” I ever so calmly asked, after all I had prayed and asked God for patience today. I had asked Him to show me something new. “Well ma’am we couldn’t get the back gate open, its locked!” (Gate is not locked, there is a little silver chain over a little silver post that requires one finger to lift the little silver chain up and over the little silver ball at the top of the little silver post) My face might have been the give away as to my take on their intelligence. I took a 10 second window and a deep breath and ever so sweetly I responded and explained how to open said “locked gate” and then questioned the front of the yard that obviously WASN’T BEHIND A LOCKED GATE! (counting to 10 slowly….ok much better) They looked at me like I had 4 heads and I smiled back a “seriously do I need me to come out here” smile. About 10 minutes later they had blown off everything and had a few bags of debris. There was that so hard? (No, I didn’t say it out loud) Bless their little hearts.
About this time I heard this little voice in my head….you might know it as the one that says things you really didn’t need to hear….
“You asked me for patience today!” Yes Lord, I know.
“See how sometimes the things that are so simple to do, that would yield a great result, you rush by, glance over or just ignore?” Ummm, yes I do that sometimes.
“Why so angry at them? The task may be different but the lesson is the same!” (insert a hard swallow!)
This is just a rough outline of the conversation that played in my head and my heart. Many times I get frustrated and insist “they should know better” but the truth is, so should I. I have rushed and done just the bare minimum. I have looked around to see who was watching and did just enough to get by. I have hurried and not cared what that would mean for someone else. I have approached things with less than my best. Today I asked for grace but couldn’t give any? Don’t get me wrong, they didn’t do the job they were being paid for. I had a right to ask they please finish what was started and do it to completion. It was my heart attitude I was no entitled too. (Plank out of eye is now in trash with spec that was in my yard.)
Truth be told, I needed this talking too. Do I really want to be judged by the same ruler I use to judge others? That would be a resounding NO!
There are things He has asked me to do, called me to do, required me to do. In some cases I have done them to my best ability. In some cases I have done just enough hoping He would see my works and not my attitude. In some cases, well let us just say I have some things I need to add to my project list.
My lesson today was not only about grace but He showed me in a loving way that when I do ALL as unto Him, He honors my heart, the work of my hands, and blesses me!
“Whenever this happens, my heart stops— I’m stunned, I can’t catch my breath. Listen to it! Listen to his thunder, the rolling, rumbling thunder of his voice. He lets loose his lightnings from horizon to horizon, lighting up the earth from pole to pole. In their wake, the thunder echoes his voice, powerful and majestic. He lets out all the stops, he holds nothing back. No one can mistake that voice— His word thundering so wondrously, his mighty acts staggering our understanding. He orders the snow, ‘Blanket the earth!’ and the rain, ‘Soak the whole countryside!’ No one can escape the weather—it’s there. And no one can escape from God. Wild animals take shelter, crawling into their dens, When blizzards roar out of the north and freezing rain crusts the land. It’s God’s breath that forms the ice, it’s God’s breath that turns lakes and rivers solid. And yes, it’s God who fills clouds with rainwater and hurls lightning from them every which way. He puts them through their paces—first this way, then that— commands them to do what he says all over the world. Whether for discipline or grace or extravagant love, he makes sure they make their mark. Job 37:1-3 (in Context) Job 37 (Whole Chapter) The Message