Monday, February 26, 2018

A lesson about paper towels

Don’t criticize and speak evil about each other, dear brothers. If you do, you will be fighting against God’s law of loving one another, declaring it is wrong. But your job is not to decide whether this law is right or wrong, but to obey it. (James 4:11 TLB)

As I was considering this morning's blog, I thought about a roll of paper towel hanging from the side of my refrigerator. Do you remember back in the day when paper towel just came in one size? The sheets were all pretty large squares and if you needed less than one square, you just had to take the whole thing. Today, we can tear off these 'half-sheet' sized pieces if we need only a small piece. If we have a slightly bigger job, we can tear off three of these sections, allowing us enough to complete the job, whatever it may be. Some of us want to have the same kind of 'a la carte" way of picking and choosing just how much of our lives we want to give to each other. Sometimes we want to give just a little bit to one, while we want to give lots to the other. We want to 'tear off' just enough to 'get the job done', but we don't want to tear off more than is needed. God doesn't really cater to this kind of a la carte way of us interacting with each other. In fact, he asks us to invest our lives in service to one another - something that requires three sheets for some, and a whole lot more for another!

Let me be the first to admit there are times when I don't want to give more than the 'minimum' in a particular relationship. It might be that I am tired, or stretched in more ways than I might want to admit. It often can be that the other person just 'rubs me the wrong way'. They do things, say certain things, mess up things, etc. - all of it acting as 'irritants' in our lives and making us want to 'limit' how much we allow them into our lives. It is a whole lot easier to 'give of one's self' freely (lots and lots of sheets from the roll) to the ones who don't 'rub us the wrong way'! It is much harder to want to keep allowing that one who gets on our last nerve to have access to as many sheets as they need, isn't it? We want to 'ration' their access to the roll! Am I the only one that struggles with this on occasion? I kind of doubt it. It is human nature to sometimes want to label someone as one who 'consumes' way too much, while we allow a great deal of latitude to others to 'consume' as much as they need. We do this because there is something in that individual that might just reveal a little bit about ourselves that we don't want to have to deal with, making it easier to avoid them than to embrace them!

We need to be truthful here. When someone 'rubs us the wrong way', making it harder for us to really be loving and kind toward them, we just want to avoid them. We don't want to give them access to the roll! If we do give them access, we allow them only those 'half-sheets' of our time, energies, and talents. Why? They drain the roll! They have a way of 'using up' the sheets of our time, energies, and talents over and over again. We want to have something left on the roll for those who also allow us to take a few sheets now and again from their rolls! While it is not easy for us to 'deal with' those who are 'super consumers' in our lives, it is something I believe God wants from us. Do you know why the paper towel is right there on the side of the refrigerator in my kitchen? The sink is right there! It is the kitchen and things happen in the kitchen that require frequent 'wash ups' and 'pick ups'. In life, we will always be surrounded by others who need some 'wash ups' and 'pick ups'. Put the 'roll' out there for them to use - that is the entire purpose of the roll! It isn't for beauty or display. It is for practical, everyday use on messy stuff! Just sayin!