*I wrote this post last year. The lesson learned from it still stands today. Whether there is snow, sun, or rain.
It’s Saturday and I’m lazy. Instead of getting right to the morning devotional and prayers(Please don’t hear that like I normally do it well), I spent a quiet early morning fiddling around with Twitter, Facebook, and E-mail, with some candy crush thrown in. I take a look out the big bay window in the living room and see that the forecast was spot on. We’ve got a few inches of snow. It’s not the soft powdery kind, but the kind that’s mixed with rain. The heavy, “heart attack” type snow. So I finally get dressed, and prepare to attack the wet wintry mix when I decide to sit a few minutes more and complain to the fellow patrons of Twitter about how much I don’t want to do this.
I tell my social media crew about my neighbors. Normally, I tend to get out there before them and usually end up shoveling for them. I tell my fellow twits(tweeters?) that I don’t mind doing it for one neighbor and not so much for the other. One thing I’m sure of is that it’s not about me being “obedient” to God. I know this because part of me doesn’t want to do it for the neighbor I don’t mind doing it for. Part of me doesn’t want to shovel AT ALL! The fact that the kind of snow out there is the kind that can put you in traction for a couple of days, might have something to do with that.
One last clarification on my lack of obedience before I continue. While it’s true, I don’t mind shoveling for one of my neighbors. The reason why is that when he was able to, I would often find him shoveling some of my walk. When I did help him, he would give me coffee. So, somewhere in the creaky recesses of my cobwebbed mind is the idea that he appreciates it. My other neighbor would frustrate me because we share a mutual sidewalk leading to the entrances of our semi attached home and I would regularly clear the entire path for us both. On the occasion when they would get out there before me, there would be tiny path cleared away just enough for them. So, as you can see I am the “perfect picture of purity in all my actions.” NOT!
So why am I telling you this? It’s certainly not a view of me I want others to see. I just told you I’m a lazy guy who wants to diddle around with mindless entertainment while putting off the most simple of spiritual exercises. I complained about my neighbors and basically said I don’t want to be a good neighbor to them. Definitely not a picture of obedience, especially in this evangelical culture of, “you’ve got to be a blessing if you want a blessing.”
Well, I finally got my act together enough to drag myself outside and found my neighbor shoveling my sidewalk. Not the, “hey, come have a cup of coffee”, neighbor. THE OTHER ONE.. Naturally, I thought he was making that tiny little path, but to my surprise, he did my walkway AND he did a GREAT JOB! Did I feel a little guilty? Sure. But, it didn’t stop me from running out there and thanking him. Here I was, the epitome of what a “bad” Christian is and I was blessed. Is that not a picture of grace? I was blessed while being bad! Whoa!
It’s no surprise that from there I have to consider that greater Grace. The kind that was shown at the cross. Growing up, I was around the truth of the cross or at least some part of it. I ignored it. I ran from it. I made a little path for my life that didn’t want to care or include anyone else in it. To be honest, I still do sometimes. I mean, here I am, a Christian and I’m complaining and whining about snow, and neighbors, and shoveling. I should know better. And while I’m doing that, my biggest complaint is out there blessing me. And here I am, a Christian, still complaining and whining about stuff and God still calls me his own. He still accepts me, still forgives me, still blesses me.
Forgive my sins minute by minute. Help me catch myself, even as some sinful thoughts still slip through the cracks. Thank you that I can look to your Son to know I am forgiven. Thank you for the grace you pour out in supernatural ways and thank you for the grace you give us day-to-day. Help me appreciate my neighbors more, whether I get help, a thank you or a cup of coffee.
In Jesus name.