Monday, October 15, 2007

Closing the Valve

So I arrive at the church office Thursday morning and discover massive amounts of mud running down a walkway where the ladies of the church will soon be gathering for their weekly morning study. I ask my associate pastoral staff compadre "what's up" only to find myself pushing a shovel until he gets back from the depot with appropriate pipe repair pieces. After clearing the mud (as best as I could with a shovel and broom), I was able to troubleshoot some technical difficulties for the ladies video presentation, and then head to my office.
I had not even got through the unread's in my outlook account before I hear "Grab a shovel, we're going to get muddy." I hurried outside to see water bubbling up between the concrete seams as you enter our church. This was a new and different leak then the one that had just been repaired. Luckily, someone in our church owns a concrete cutter, and it was merely a matter of time and hard work for us to cut out two large squares of concrete and find the broken pipe several feet under ground. We patched the pipe and began to entertain theories of earthquakes, gophers, and reckless drivers, as we tried to understand two leaks in one day. At the end of the day, I was exhausted and had accomplished nothing I had planned for that day.
Friday was a catch up day until the afternoon when the s.p. comes by and notices water bubbling up in the parking lot. Panicked we turn off the water...again and consider canceling that evenings outreach service and ordering porta potties for Sunday. We start experimenting with all the valves and find one that turns off the leak and leaves the buildings with water. This is good. We start messing with that valve... "Where does that go?" "What does it do?" "Was that on or off yesterday?" "Wait, There's writing on it." "Get a towel" "What does it say?" "I can't read it" "I think that's my handwriting" "OLD LINE. DO NOT OPEN. LEAVE CLOSED".
I was the one who wrote it so it was easy for me to remember what five years of water and dirt had covered. Why was this on? Why was there even a valve here? Why didn't we cap it? I don't know the answers to these questions, but what I know is we spent a lot of time tearing up a perfectly good patio when all we needed to do was close that valve. Yeah, I won't be offended if you cuss, that's how I felt.
Made me think, metaphorically. How often do we get so caught up in good intentions and what we think we should do to serve Jesus, that we just make a big mess? How often do we work long and hard serving him, when we really just needed to close the valve? Are you with me. Makes me think... There's got to be an easier way, not just an easier way, but a better way, a much less evasive, not tearing up the patio kind of way. Go ahead call me lazy, call me less devoted, accuse me of not caring, I just want to find out how to close the valve. I want to reach my generation with out killing myself, with out sacrificing other relationships, and with out damaging the testimony of Jesus. I want to close the valve. Anyone with me?

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