As we stand on the threshold of a new year, we may all have made resolutions. Some of us have so often made and failed to keep New Year’s resolutions that we have now resolved to make no new resolutions but to do things on our own, in our own way.
There is an old dishwasher in my garage that has been collecting dust for a long time. I was going to say months, but it’s more likely been there for a few years. I am not even sure exactly how it got there but I think that at the time it was replaced I thought the appliance guy wanted way too much money to haul the old dishwasher away. So there it sits.
I know it has been there for a long time because it no longer has that stale water, dead matter stink that an unopened, unused dishwasher can have when it sits for a while. Once the water dries out of the system completely, the smell pretty much evaporates, too.
I tried once or twice to lift that old washer onto the back of my pickup; I even tried to use a 2 by 10 plank as an inclined plane to maneuver the appliance onto the truck bed. That didn’t work so well! So, I pushed it back out of the way.
I did find the top to be a useful work area for some of the repairs and tinkering I had to do; it was sure easier working at waist level than bending over to drill holes and run screws into some small pieces of wood. That top was only occasionally useful, and then the whole appliance was an obstruction. And the only way I could get it out of my way was to push it over to my wife’s side of the garage. After all, she had the smaller vehicle and she didn’t need nearly the room my truck needed. And after all, it was her fault the dishwasher was there in the first place. She was the one that wanted a new one!
When it was first put out into the garage, the young man next door offered to help me put the old washer on the back of my truck so I could take it to the dump. The first time it just wasn’t convenient – I had other important things to do. The young guy was muscular enough that he could probably have lifted the washer onto the truck all by himself, but I never let him.
The next time he saw me out front in the garage, he offered again, suggested really, that it would be a good idea to get rid of that old appliance. My priority that day was to take the truck to the car wash and to come home and have a nice nap in the sun.
He has offered many times since. Sometimes we made a joke of it; sometimes I merely ignore his offer. Over time it has gotten to the point that I avoid going out front when I see my neighbour outside. In fact, I am not sure whether he still lives next door, or whether he ever did. Maybe I only imagined him!
And while it does continue to collect dust, and other junk, that old washer is not really in my way; I can always maneuver around it. I’m not sure whether it bothers my wife or not, but she’ll just have to suck it up. There really isn‘t a lot I can do about it. Some things are just the way they are. And the only real problem I had was that I had to clean out an old mouse’s nest from the inside. I guess it squeezed in through one of the inlet valves or hoses or something.
You know, if people don’t like that old dishwasher in the garage – too bad.
Truly an absurd story. And I have to confess that I have been stringing you along.
But isn’t this the way we treat a loving compassionate God who comes alongside and offers to help us take the garbage out? We thank Him and let Him know that the time is not convenient, we hide from His repeated appearances and appeals until we almost believe that He never existed although there are those crucial times of emotional strain or pain or joy when we love the idea of a god. The rest of the time we push our problems off to the side, and let others know that if they don’t like it they don’t have to get involved. After all, that’s the way we were born, and we can’t help being who we are. In fact, we have to be who we are. When our issues are too much for us we project our problems onto someone else – and it is no longer ours.
We value independence. Common sense has taught us it is the wise way to conduct ourselves. Self sufficiency will get us to our goals; but it turns out this great wisdom is actually foolishness! When we say we need no one, we err, especially when we need no God. The Bible says, Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” (Ps. 14:1)
In 2020 may we flee our own foolishness! May we resolve to draw nearer to the one who wants to help us take the garbage out!