Friday, January 3, 2014

The weather outside is frightful .................... Parables 062

Did you look out Tuesday morning, see what was happening, and reschedule a few things to stay at home? I did. Some schools closed for the day. Some people postponed medical appointments. I was asked if I would cancel an evening ladies meeting. It was tempting. But when I talked to my husband about it, he just said, “Hundreds of people had to go to work today.”

His remark made me remember how easy it is to become accustomed to comfort, and when difficulty arises, alter plans rather than enduring.

A local artist told me that he is very much aware of that tendency. He has learned to discipline himself to paint landscapes in any weather. He said that if he allowed bad weather to keep him from working, soon ANY weather would be bad.

This almost perfect spring weather lulled many of us right into our lawn chairs. Boots and heavy jackets have long been stashed in the back corner of the closet. But along comes a foot of snow, not too uncommon in Alberta, and it suddenly became difficult to do some things that were quite ordinary a few weeks ago. Frankly, I felt like going back to bed for the day.

The book of Proverbs really prodded me out of my lethargy. I remembered verses like “The lazy man will not plow because of winter; therefore he will beg during the harvest and have nothing” (20:4), and “the soul of the lazy person desires and has nothing, but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.” (13:4)

What does it take to get up and get going, in spite of adverse conditions? Sometimes it is hunger: “The person who labors, labors for himself, for his hungry mouth drives him on.” (16:26) (Good incentive)

Sometimes it is a sense of responsibility for others (27:23-27), or a desire for wealth (10:4), or for honor (10:5). Whatever it is, the Bible calls the diligent “wise” and the sluggard, one who will say “There is a lion outside, I will be slain in the streets,” is called a fool. (22:13)

Granted, there are some people without the ability to safely drive on icy roads. And sometimes there are genuine dangers that should be avoided. But there are times I have avoided work just because I did not want to be uncomfortable.

I wonder how successful that artist would be without his philosophy. And I wonder how much more I would accomplish if I did not allow snow, cold, rain, aching bones, and a vast number of inconveniences to slow me down?

My dad used to tease us when we were on our way somewhere. He would let us go a distance, call us, and when we stopped, he would ask, “How far would you have been if you hadn’t stopped?”

Interesting question, especially on days where it would be easier to crawl back into bed than go on.

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