Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: GREEN (01/19/17)
- TITLE: Lessons from the Water Softener
By Vicki Thomas
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I awake at 4a.m. The Lord speaks. I ask the same question that I have been asking him since He told me to ask it. “What is there plenty of today, Lord?” I pick up my phone to check the time. It reads “low power” …and I hear. I really hear. It is the Shepherd. Slowly He is teaching me to hear His voice. I have had ears for 48 years now, but I have been dull. I have let the voices of the noise around me be so loud that I have missed out on it for so much of my life. I have relied on human resources for my power supply. I have lived in low power mode…blinking yellow.
I know this color. I don’t like this color. I can actually feel this color – and I hate it. It is the color the water softener light blinks when it is almost out of salt. It is my warning, sending a message to me loud and clear – “Your supply is low. Replenish. Go to Lowe’s. If you care about your hair, go get more salt.” I do care about my hair. Since it keeps trying to turn gray on me, replenishing my salt supply is critical if I want it to remain soft. Salt is extremely important to me. The problem that I face is that the water softener lives in the basement, in the storage closet, behind a thousand things that I don’t ever use or need. It blinks in vain for weeks, warning me. But it’s not until my soap won’t lather and my hair feels crunchy that I begin to care. The water softener now speaks from the basement – loud enough for me to hear – because I can feel it.
It’s a crying shame God has to speak through a phone and a water softener just to get my attention. I’m just thankful this morning that I don’t own a donkey… Am I really that dull? I am. I guess I am not the first person the Lord has had to have this kind of conversation with. The disciples stood on the side of a mountain with a crowd of 5,000 hungry people, looking for answers, when all Jesus handed them was a question. “Where will you buy enough food for these people to eat?” They just stared at him, blinking…yellow. Jesus thinks this is all about money? They were stumped. “Lord, it would take eight month’s wages…” “We only have five loaves and two small fish…” Money and resources had failed them. They were ready to listen…and so am I. I read the scripture again…I hear His voice. Only it’s not an answer to my problem. It’s a question. “What is there plenty of today?” Suddenly one word changes my life. Plenty.
"Jesus said, 'Have the people sit down.' There was plenty of grass in that place..." (John 6:10 NIV). Plenty…of grass? This was not the green the disciples had asked for. They needed money to buy more bread and fish. How in the world was grass going to be helpful? …They weren’t cattle, Jesus. Then I hear and recognize the voice of the Shepherd, “But haven’t I called you My sheep, the sheep of My pasture?” -And as he breaks the bread to hand me a piece, the message seemed very clear. The disciples saw 5,000 hungry people. Jesus saw 5,000 hungry sheep. His Father had already provided them plenty. They were just sitting on it…
I have the same issues the disciples had. I want to stand in front of “The Source”, blinking yellow and crying because I don’t have enough human resources. I want to ask all the questions. He wants me to hear a few. “Are you still so dull?”…Yes, Lord. But I don’t want to stay this way…
And so I know what to do. The water softener speaks. “Go to Lowe’s.” I can choose to obey and fill it up and it will respond by turning off the yellow blinking light and return to softening my hair. I’ll feel it. The beauty of money and human resources at their best. How much more will I be blessed by recognizing the Shepherd’s voice and seeing His provision right under my nose. He longs to feed this poor hungry sheep with all the greens I could possibly enjoy –“Taste and see that the Lord is good!”
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