but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.
— JOHN 14:31
Home improvement projects give me a great sense of accomplishment, but they often seem to take longer and require more than I initially estimate. They also tend to push me to the limits of my patience and sanity. Such was the case for me on the day I attempted to lay ceramic tile for the first time in my guest bathroom.
The project was going quiet well at first. My eight-year-old son and I were enjoying working together and were learning right alongside each other. To prep the bathroom, we had removed the toilet, taken the door off its hinges, and removed the molding and baseboards. After an eternity of measuring and cutting, we were finally to the point of laying the tile. The thick, sticky adhesive was rather unforgiving and messy to work with, but before long we had each piece in place, complete with plastic spacers to keep a uniform distance between the tiles. The only thing left was to make sure each piece was level by using a straight board and a mallet to tap protruding edges into place. Just a few more moments and we’d be done for the night.
But then it happened. The one dreaded moment in any home improvement project that you wish you could take back. In my haste to level one particular tile, I used my rubber mallet directly on the corner of that one piece. I knew better. Everything I had read told me not to do that. Use the board across several tiles – don’t hit just the one piece. This is, after all, ceramic tile that is rather breakable. And break it did.
“What happened, Dad?”
“I just … Aaaaarrrgh!!!” (And they say guys don’t communicate well!)
Grunting the whole while, I frantically peeled the broken piece out of its position while trying not to disrupt the tiles around it. I needed to get to the garage quickly to cut an identical piece before the adhesive set up. With my broken piece and the gooey mortar dripping from both hands, I shouted to my son “Get the door!”
Realizing the dire situation and wanting so badly to help in any way, he responded immediately by getting the door. No, not the door to the garage that I needed opened for me. His attention was on the door to this guest bathroom – the one that was taken off its hinges and leaning against the wall in the hallway! Here’s this eight-year-old boy with a bathroom door in a bear hug, wrestling with it and trying so hard to lift it off the floor!
“Not that door, the garage door” I hollered! Again, quick response on his part. He abandoned his fight with the door in the hallway and bolted toward the garage door in time to open it for me. With the goopy tile now safely in the garage where it wouldn’t drip on the carpet, I broke into laughter at what had just happened.
“What were you going to do with that door in the hallway,” I asked?
“I was going to get it,” he said.
That shared experience was something we laughed about for a couple of years. Whenever one of us did something that ultimately didn’t make a lot of sense, we would say, “I was going to get it!” I guess every home improvement project ends up having a story, right?
Well there is more than a story here. There is a wonderful lesson in my son’s response. You see, I shouted for him to get the door without any specific explanation or detail. And in a beautiful act of complete obedience, he acted immediately. He didn’t wait until he had a full understanding of the plan. He didn’t argue about the usefulness of doing something with that door. He didn’t complain about not being big enough or strong enough to lift the door. Instead, he turned, saw the first door in front of him and immediately tackled it, trusting that I would give him further direction and the help he needed to do what needed done with it.
What is your first reaction when God asks you to do something? Do you first conduct your own feasibility study? Do you compare the size of the task to your own abilities and resources? Do you wait altogether until you have a clear picture of how everything will look in the end?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that we’re not to plan and strategize. God wants us to do both and be prudent stewards of our time and resources. What He doesn’t want, though, is for us to ‘validate’ the worthiness of His plan.
Think and Pray
God’s plan is oftentimes beyond our understanding, yet it’s always perfect. Rather than question or doubt where you sense Him leading you, get the door and trust Him for the rest!
Father, help me to be sensitive to the promptings you place in my heart and mind, and to act on them without hesitation or doubt, knowing that You always equip those whom You call. Thank You for the privilege of being a part of Your work on this earth. Amen.
Brent Vawter is a Senior Area Director for CBMC Oklahoma. Having spent the first 30 years of his career helping several Fortune 100 companies with their marketing and operations, he now focuses his efforts on helping businessmen grow in their relationship with Christ and discover greater purpose in life and meaning in their work.