Ever heard the saying about the straw that broke the camel's back? Well, not too long ago, due to some pressing issues, I began to feel that old straw on my back.
Considering what could've offset the weight of a backbreaking straw, Proverbs 3:27 came to mind. It says, "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it."
I don't know anyone who would refuse some real good from whoever has it to give. There are so many ways that we can brighten up a cloudy day with random acts of good that are within our power to do. It's our choice to be a contributor to the life that is around us and make a difference for others who may be on the verge of being hit with a backbreaking straw.
We can go about as cloud busters, blowing away doom and gloom that looms over folks we see each day. We can defuse, by bringing in a perspective of the good we see and are willing to pass on. So much can be done that way for family, and those we see along each day's path. How awesome to be able to turn the tide by a simple act of good in passing, in conversation or by doing a practical service for them.
And while we're on the subject of doing good, how's about us looking into not withholding good from ourselves, when we have it within our power to do so? Just what is there about us that we more readily deny ourselves good and think that's the way to go, it seems humble and much more becoming? Yet to withhold good from ourselves continually will eventually make us brittle, having no flexibility to bend when we're hit.
We all need some good to insulate us, as hard-hitting times tend to come with no warning.
When it's in our power to do good for anyone, including ourselves, we need to do it, and here's an added note, don't...wait. Withholding good deprives others and us of the preparation we need.
The urgency of "Don't ... wait," came as I was waiting on the results of a mammogram and an ultrasound. The tech came in and out several times, checking and rechecking. Then she came again and asked, "Is there a history of breast cancer in your family?" Fear seemed to have walked in with her words. A straw left the haystack and was about to come down on me. My mouth responded to her, "Yes, my mother!" and I added, "On the same side that you are probing." And out the tech went. I began to pray for good news to come while scanning some things in my life. I thought things were finally coming together for me personally and for my life's work that has been years in the making. Why would this show up now? I needed to be insulated with some good things. Had I done the good I needed to for others and for myself? Would there be time now? It was then that I heard the voice of Him who speaks to the hearts of men and He said: "Don't ... wait".
I was flooded with waves of scenarios that came. This was a situational crisis, who really knows how much time they have left? So then, what are we waiting for?
Don't wait to really live. Don't wait to let go of what bothers us, when it's within our power to do so-let that thing, that person go. Forgive and move on. Why withhold the good counsel we readily give to others when we can use some of it ourselves? Withholding the good from ourselves may prove to be a contributing factor to the straw that breaks our own backs.
Don't wait to show love and appreciation for life.
We can cut ourselves some slack and let go of guilt, sorrow and regrets and move on even if it can only be at a turtle-slow pace. Why stay in unpleasant places: in offense or a compromised lifestyle, building memories on sinking sand. Don't ... wait to change direction if you find you're headed in the wrong way. Why purposely miss the boat that comes to carry us over to where we'll be better off?
There's a time to tend and mend others, to carry and nurse, to be accountable to our children, family, community and country. Times to seek the welfare of those who are dependant on us to do our part in the play of life, but there must also be place in our lives for the gift of life we are given to live. We can't keep putting our lives on hold. After all, who has a guarantee of tomorrow anyway?
Even Jesus drew aside in the garden of Gethsemane to seek what He needed, time with God the Father.
To give, to put out, we must first receive for ourselves. We have a responsibility to God to take care of ourselves and more often than just on leap year or when we retire.
It's time to be God kind of good to ourselves. To stop beating ourselves up for something while telling everyone that God forgives, even a murder, like David; an adulterer like the woman caught in sin; a liar like Peter who denied Him and say that the Lord will forgive them and restore them too, while we still live in guilt and regrets. That's not doing ourselves good at all.
"Don't ... wait" to smell the roses, to grace yourself, to laugh and venture into the adventures of life that awaits you. It's time to hurry to the celebration of life that God has given us; we need to go live it now.
Go fishing, super-size your salads instead of the french fries, we need not wait on that. Take a walk on the beach; this is Florida. Northerners save all year to vacation here. Look at the ocean, the sky that's ever changing above us and take good stuff around us in and let's not wait.
Don't ... wait to give gifts of love, kindness, compassion and grace because doing that is doing good for our own selves, too.
There will always be straws, but the one that's backbreaking won't stand a chance if we'll not withhold good from self and others when it's in our power to do it. So go ahead and don't ... wait.
Pastor Janna Hogan leads Jesus is the Key Church & Ministries, 1701 South Babcock St., Melbourne. Call (321) 724-8434, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.jitk.org.