A Job Well Done
"With Your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall."- Psalm 18:29
This past week I received a letter in the mail that did my heart good and made me super proud. It wasn't from the credit card company saying that all the debt is paid off; it wasn't a notice that our property taxes have gone down; it wasn't a check for a refund or reward we were due; it wasn't even a note from a friend to encourage us. The letter we received was from California American Water letting us know that our house is now in the top 20% in terms of efficient water usage! When I looked at the graph bar showing the average household water usage, I was surprised to see that the graph for our house was even better than the average for the most efficient homes. I was so proud of this accomplishment that there might as well have been a blue ribbon or thumbs-up emoji next to our graph line.
Now this may not seem like such a big deal as we all need to be making concerted efforts to be good stewards to conserve water during the drought. But what makes this achievement special for me is that it was just a few months ago that we were on the other end of the water usage spectrum. Our first letter had our usage far higher than the efficient homes and average households in our area. I didn't know that you could feel shame from a bill, but that first graph might as well have been marked by a big red "F" from my eighth grade English teacher. So, although this accomplishment was not scaling Mount Everest, completing a doctorate degree, or moving the church to its new property, it was still something that took effort and has come with a reward.
As we come to the end of August and another summer goes in the books, the Holy Spirit has me thinking about the word "ACCOMPLISHMENT". Often it is in the summertime that our radars tune into a focus, a goal, and an adjustment that needs to be made. From taking better care of our bodies to spending more time with the kids to getting a project at the house finished, we set out in June on a course towards progress. Yet, as many know the intentions that are birthed in June do not always find their way to an August finish line. Even with our passing grade with the water usage, I can just as easily look at how often time goes by without implementing something for the family that we discussed heading into the summer. For example, this summer was going to be the time that we taught the boys certain life skills that will help them later on (i.e.- cooking; ironing; etc...). Let's just say that wrinkled shirts and Top Ramen won the day!
I share this word "accomplishment" with you because perhaps like our family, there are areas where you did really well this summer and others that were totally missed. The word of encouragement and exhortation that I feel the Lord wants us each to hear is that we are, "Not to wait until next summer for those things that went untended and undone." With the fall season bringing many of us back to the reality of regular hours at the office and/or the return to the school year, it would be easy to put off some of those places of need in our lives until Summer 2017. I want to encourage you that those areas that had your attention and priority in June do not have to wait another twelve months to be addressed, implemented, and improved upon. When we look at the Scriptures we see time and time again the importance of doing things TODAY. Joshua calls the people to an immediate and undivided choice of serving the Lord or their worthless, false gods (Joshua 24); Jesus calls Zacchaeus to come down from a tree because the gift of salvation was available at that very moment; and the Apostle Paul writes to us a word from the Lord of hope, truth, and fulfillment in II Corinthians 6:2, "In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.' I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation."
As we move into the fall, be encouraged by the fact that the graph line of our faith, of our relationships, and of the work of our hands can be improved and radically transformed as we pursue the Lord and act on the things the Spirit has been stirring in our hearts.
You can do it!
You don't have to wait!
You can feel a greater sense of joy and fulfillment than ever before!