The warm sweet smells coming from the oven and boiling pots filled the kitchen as cousins chit-chatted around the wood stove. My job was to carve the Christmas ham and I approached the task with an Old Hickory knife that had been around since I was a kid. Then I discovered the blessings of mom's electric knife! Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, someone turned on the ceiling light! It made such a difference I couldn't help but wonder why we hadn't done it before.
I wondered what else in life are we settling for because we think it is good enough? We'd sooner use paper plates than get out the good china. Our big ole coffee table bible might equal our righteousness, but is it gathering dust because after all “Life is going pretty good so who needs more Jesus?”
Some friends of mine choose one word for their New Year's resolution. CONTENTMENT is a popular one and I approve—we could all count our blessings more and complain less. But I have also seen many people, myself included, who have been too content, when God has intended more. Most mountain people have been raised like me to “Be thankful for what you have.” This philosophy has guided generations successfully so I dare not discredit the benefits of contentment. I am merely suggesting we need to look at the situation and ask ourselves some questions: Is it indeed as good as it gets or could we be a part of the betterment? Am I walking through life when I could be dancing? Is my basement storage system of “piles” really working or could I be more organized? Do I go to church every Sunday but could be in a deeper relationship with the Lord through more prayer and Bible reading? What if God has intended me for more? Could my connection with Him be better?
Philippians 4:19 says to put Him to the test...and He will “...open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing...” A different kind of connection involving testing and opening windows (Windows) also reflected settling for less when more was intended. Our house was living with slow internet speeds because I was preaching how we needed to be thankful for even having a computer. When I could no longer ignore my teenage son's complaining and called our internet provider, a speed test revealed we were only getting 35 download speed when we should be getting 200. ( yes 200!) Admittedly I feel a healthy amount of guilt complaining to any readers who, like my parents, get a download speed of less than '1'. (Their internet connection is so weak it would not even load the speed test.)
And a third life lesson on not settling for less was when we were sanding five or six layers of paint off solid wood doors from an old house to re-purpose. At first we were diligent and determined to get the job done with the available palm sanders and 60 grit paper. After hours of grueling work and getting nowhere, mom introduced a grinder! You couldn't leave it in one place too long or it ate a pretty good hole in the wood, but it worked better than the palm sander. We were satisfied with the grinder, but then my sister suggested we try using a blowtorch and it was revolutionary. Just like with carving the Christmas ham in adequate light, I could have used my fingers to tear it apart, but the electric knife was better, so it was with the sanding job. We could have eventually gotten the job done with 60 grit on a palm sander, but there was something better.
This new year I'm going to focus on making things better...turning on a light, making a better connection...and maybe getting out the blowtorch:)
Janet Cowger- Fliegel