Sunday, March 11, 2007

Monday Moment - A Harvest Ahead

My second favorite household chore is ironing.
My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.
-Erma Bombeck

I really dislike ironing. Truly, I do. But maybe it's now my second favorite household chore. My first favorite household chore being stripping.

...Er... stripping antique mantels.

This is what they don't tell you when you go to the DIY website and type in "how do I strip 4 layers of paint and stain off my library's 125+ year-old wood mantel?":

(1) They don't tell you that you will get high on chemical fumes, no matter how well you ventilate. (2)They don't caution you to wear closed toe shoes because the stripper-solution will drip... drip right onto your right, flip-flop clad foot... causing a weird sizzle noise and smoke to rise off the top of said foot. (And burn through your $2.50 Old Navy flip-flops.) (3) They don't mention that it will, in fact, take $40 of sand paper to finally see the wood grain; and (4) They never disclose that you won't look, smell, or feel like a woman again for 48 hours (minimum)-what with all the chemical burns on your feet, residue on and in every surface and orifice of your body, and construction-worker-look-alike hair and fingernails.

Egad, this place is a mess. (Maybe the guys who are coming to rebuild the hearth and chimney can finish this for me. Oh? When pigs fly? Well, okay.) Someone, please... give me an ironing board!

Ah. Hey there! Glad you're back. Hope you had a good weekend. Did you? Please forgive my ranting. I'm afraid I'm still breathing the lingering fumes. You know, when I bought this ancient, rambling, neglected place, all I could think of was cute hammers and fun decorating projects and feather beds and rose-accompanied brunches. Ha. Like life, you wake up one day and realize everything... families... jobs... houses... friendships... sleep!... and maybe even faith... is work. Work, work, work. I don't know about you, but sometimes thinking about all the work that goes into every aspect of my life makes me tired. I know thinking about finishing that mantel sure is.

So imagine my delight when I re-read Galatians 6:9 tonight: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people....

I heard a story this weekend about a mother and daughter driving through the New England countryside. They gasped when they drove upon a field covered in tulips. Yellow tulips, pink tulips. Red tulips. Purple tulips. They stopped, and soon found the 80-year old owner and caretaker.

"How did you do this? There must be thousands of tulips out here!" the mother exclaimed.

"There are over 19,000," said the old woman. "I planted them myself."

"But how?" asked the daughter.

"One at a time," the woman said, "over a span of 50 years. I always knew it would add up."

That knock at the door? It's perspective. And it's saying that all the individual tulips we plant this week... all the good we do... all the good you're doing or will do this week - trying to raise honorable families, trying to earn an honest dollar, trying to do unto others as we would have them do unto us... it's all coming back around. It's all adding up. Maybe not this afternoon. Maybe not in July. But someday. It could be 50 years from now... in 2057... but someday.

And the cool thing about "good"? About persistently striving to be better... to be godly? It has far, far reaching effects. The good you do to your boss or the people you meet through your job could come back to you when you least expect it. The good you do to your children could come back to bless your grandchildren... your descendants... your heritage. The kindness you show today will be apart of how you're thought of and talked about tomorrow... and after you're gone.

Tolstoy said the "most effective warriors are time and patience". The Bible says those who do good will reap a harvest if they don't give up. God cannot be mocked, it says. A man reaps what he sows. Hey. There's a harvest ahead.

So wherever you find yourself today, and whatever you are doing today, know this: you're not alone. You're not working or toiling or battling or facing this week alone. Your work may go unnoticed. Unappreciated. Undiscovered. But it won't forever. And there is a point to it all.

Let us not grow weary in doing good!

(So this Monday Moment is just a little read to help kick-start your week. Hope you like it. See you again soon! - Brin)


smilnsigh said...

Oh my woodworking husband would think you a Queen among women! For stripping that beautiful old wood. And it willllll be beeeeeeeeeeeeeutiful, one day. :-)


Teeny Tiny cabin said...

Those are some BIG projects you're taking on, all by yourself. I've helped my husband strip furniture before and it was hard work! At the same time-that's a beautiful fireplace mantel and the all the work will be well worth it!
Yes, living our lives in a God-honoring way is not achieved by happenstance and involves commitment, perseverance, diligence and the grace of God. Thank you for your delightful and encouraging way of presenting this truth. Claudia O.