Lawn mowers and meals are not the typical catalysts for an aha moment. This past week, however, each one of these created a crossroad. A decision. An opportunity. The individual situations seem like they should be insignificant. One has to do with a Craig’s List transaction and the other with dinner plans.
One son had a lawn business in high school and owned a lawn mower that had been relegated to taking up room in our garage. On a recent visit between school and work, he was asked to please find another home for it. Hence, Craig’s List.
I don’t have anything against Craig’s List. Recent safety concerns noted, it is a great venue for buying and selling things. We have used Craig’s List for a number of different reasons. It’s easy and expedient. If you post your item for the right price chances are you’ll sell it quickly. People are always on the hunt for good bargains. A race ensues to see who can get there first with the cash in hand. Adrenaline starts pumping and the thrill of competition takes over. Winner takes all.
My son just about gave this lawn mower away and the game started almost immediately.
The first person to call was a lady. First of all, how many women do you know call inquiring about buying a lawn mower? I might know three. So I immediately fabricated her situation in my mind. I envisioned a single mom who didn’t really have $60 but somehow found it to buy this mower in order to keep her living space somewhat under control and the HOA off her back. I have no idea what her story was but my sympathy was immediately with her.
This lady called and asked if my son would take $60 – just a little less than he listed it for and he said yes. She said she’d be over to get it. It apparently took her longer than it should have (according to the game) and another buyer called and said he’d be right over and would pay the full price. He arrived moments later and left with the mower.
I know that sometimes people call and then never show up. In this case, the lady had confirmed that she was coming, she just had a little difficulty getting the money. My son sold that mower out from underneath her. She had expended gas to try to get there first. She was not happy.
I was not happy. Maybe I rose to her defense because of the story I created as hers. I think it troubles me because it convicts me. It revealed a log in my eye that I needed to deal with before I could in good conscience say anything to my son. We have done what he did. Our yes was not our yes and we had two different people racing across the county to come buy a truck. It was funny. It really was. They happened to know each other from competing landscaping businesses. But now it hurts my heart.
We did not live up to Jesus in me and our son learned that from us. His yes was not his yes to that lady.
This is an intersection of life and faith that asks What road will you take? The world-view road that says the fastest, the first to come sliding in, wins? The road that says everything must be a competition? Or the Jesus in me road that says I will honor my agreement with you and wait for you to get here. The road that says my word is worth something and my yes is my yes?
My oldest son’s birthday was last weekend and my husband’s is coming up. We have made plans to gather for dinner in celebration of these two special men’s special days. I have invited grandpa to come and planned on making a cheesecake, my son’s favorite dessert. I received a call from this son wanting to “check on the plans for the weekend.” This, I have learned, is code for I really know what the plans are but I’m hoping they can now be changed.
Yep, an invitation to the lake lures my son. He called and asked if maybe we could eat an early dinner so he could make it to the lake. I said no. I would not rush our celebration, our treasured time together, because he felt he’d gotten a better offer. I told him he had to choose and please let me know.
This is an intersection that asks What road will you take? The road that says it’s okay to cancel on your family because the lake is more appealing? Or the Jesus in me road that says I will honor my commitment with you? The road that says my word is worth something and my yes is my yes?
I have been wrestling with how to speak into these situations. One is in the past and needs to be dealt with for the future. Maybe, if Jesus is in me I need to apologize to my son for not providing the best example. What road will I take? One that judges the behavior of another or the one that asks for forgiveness and leads by example?
The other, I might be able to sway. Maybe, if Jesus is in me, checking that decision before it gets made is my own intersection?
What road will I take?
The world-view easy way out, don’t make waves but forever be hurt and never trust road? Or the road that says I love you and will breathe grace into this no matter what you choose, but because Jesus is in me, I must insert some accountability?
Living with Jesus in us will often mean we make decisions that don’t make sense from the world-view. Living with Jesus in us will sometimes mean we stand firm in our commitment even when something more appealing seems to come along. Living with Jesus in us means we must have the difficult conversations with people we love. It’s not just a lawn mower. It’s not just a date on the calendar. It’s more than that. It’s about living with Jesus in me all the time, in the big and little choices.
And that means we take the different road.