Working on a Dream




Saturday, May 15, 2010

Stinky Sweat

I can remember a job I had in college which required me to stand in bathrooms with yellow rubber gloves on and clean stuff. (Stuff is used purposefully in place of the things I would like to permanently forget). -Moving on. While working, I used to say phrases like, "This job stinks!' (absolutely no pun intended) while sweat rolled off my forehead. Something I read this morning in the Gospel of Luke reminded me of the two words in my title, stinky sweat. In Luke 13, Jesus tells a parable about a barren fig tree. In it, two men discuss the fact that after 3 years, this certain fig tree did not produce fruit and the one guy says its time to whack it. The other man, thinks that the fig tree might deserve another chance and he says that he will, "dig around it and fertilize it." Only after this process is he willing to cut it down.

So I have been thinking about the two men, the two different attitudes and the two drastic implications of those attitudes. First, Man #1 wanted to give up on the tree. For him it was a quick decision. No fruit No problem might be his motto. "Take this ax and cut the tree down." For Man #2, it was a longer decision process. It was almost as if he believed in the sad tree and thought about the future blessings it could bestow. Second, Man #1 had an ax. This tool is sharp and cuts things down above the surface. Man #2 carried a shovel and some fertilizer. A shovel is also sharp but it is used to dig deep into the earth. There is something about digging down below what is seen and into the unknown. The other item Man #2 was equipped with was ... fertilizer. You know what fertilizer is? Right? Don't tell anyone but it was poo. (Yes, the same stuff I was cleaning while in college)

I think if I was in this parable I would definitely be the first guy. Ax in hand. Ready to chop, chop, chop...
I guess I can't stop thinking about my own life while reflecting on this parable.Would I be where I am today, if it were not for people like Man #2? It takes a really wonderful person to look at someone and invest their time, energy, and resources into them rather than cut them down prematurely. When you do this, you will in a real way be like the man who decided to dig deep and get sweaty and then add fertilizer for growth...time to get stinky.
Maybe the point of all of this is when you see a person as God sees them you see the potential fruit hanging off their branches rather than a promise of future bareness.
--Thank you Jesus for being Man # 2.

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