I hate plumbing (my apologies to plumbers everywhere). I’ve got nothing against the craft in general. I’ve got everything against my inability to practice the craft. And so, last weekend I lost patience. But I found Jesus. Let me tell you how.
Too Much and Too Little
Let me start with this truth: We often go after too much and too little at the same time: too much in human terms, too little in divine terms. And that’s because we get fixated on the now. We get caught up in current concerns—many of them good—and our eternal inheritance drifts like a cloud behind the mountains. I’ll illustrate this for you.
On Saturday afternoon, rushing to finish some work and house projects, I made two trips to different hardware stores trying to get the right piece for a bathroom faucet. I had the right piece, but I broke it. Then I bought the “right” piece, except it was the wrong piece. So then I had to go out and get the real right piece.
On the second trip, as my car careened down our country roads, frustration took over, in that annoying voice that sounds strangely like . . . well, you. Why can’t I do a simple plumbing task without a hitch? Why do I have the strange gift of making easy things difficult? The inner monologue wasn’t helping, so I started to count my blessings in hopes that my soul would turn a corner. You’ve been given so much! You have an amazing, beautiful wife, three precious children, a house on a nice piece of land, good health, a job that helps you bless the global church. What’s a bathroom faucet amidst all of that?
But negativity is a nag. It keeps tapping your shoulder until you turn. Yea, but you should still be able to fix a bathroom faucet. I mean, come on! And while we’re at it, you need to be reaching more people with you writing. Strike that. You need to be a better writer! And if you don’t start upping your game, then this whole dream of writing full-time one day (remember that?) is never gonna happen.
My mind started racing with all the things I needed to do—for my family, for my writing, for my house, for my job. I wasn’t content. My soul was agitated, grabbing for more. And I felt guilty about not feeling content.
The Spirit Speaks
As the list of things I needed to do piled up, I grew anxious and more frustrated. And then a voice from somewhere else (where?) entered the room of my mind and closed the door behind him. When’s it going to be enough? And clear as church bells on a winter morning came the reply in what must have been the voice of the Spirit: When HE is. A wave of relief washed over me. I could even feel the muscles in my face settle. When Christ is enough, then everything else seems extra. And even the good things on the table of your life—spouse, family, friends, job, passions—can negatively affect you if you’re experiencing them without Christ as the centerpiece.
I don’t know what’s on your To Do list, what desires and aspirations you have, and how you feel you’re doing with satisfying them. But I can tell you this: We go after too much in the world and too little with God. And what I saw on that country road, what I found amidst the loss of frustration, was Jesus. And because Jesus fills all (Eph. 1:23), because everything is from him and through him and to him (Rom. 11:36), I also found the plain and ancient truth that everything else will never be enough. Never. The To Do list is never finished. Nothing besides Jesus can satisfy us, not even the blessings we have. Frustration finds us when we forget that. And lots of things can make us forget. Even a leaky bathroom faucet.
Contentment in Persons
Over and over again, we trip over the truth that we’re custom-made to be satisfied by God alone. Our contentment lies in persons: the person of the Father, who called us into light; the person of the Son, who took our hand; and the person of the Spirit, who speaks the truth of what the Son has done into our waxy ears. When our contentment lives here, everything else is extra. When it doesn’t, nothing is enough.
That’s how I lost patience and found Jesus. Maybe plumbing’s not so bad after all, if it can lead me back to Christ. I wonder what God will use in your world today to turn your shoulders towards himself.
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