A few years back one of our trees lost yet another branch. That’s one thing about Midwest storms—even if the winds don’t rotate, they can still be mighty ferocious. And somehow we had gotten this far into homeownership without a chain saw. (We don’t have a pickup truck yet either, but we do have a Chevy Silverado Sub that comes in handy, so maybe that sort of counts.) Bob basically looked out the window with an inward groan, since all he had was an axe, and this limb was definitely more than a simple axe job.
Out my faithful husband goes with what he had in his hand to begin the arduous clean up task. Before long, here comes our wonderful plumber, and seeing Bob laboring over the downed timber, pulls alongside to offer the use of his (brand new!) chain saw.
Well, THAT certainly made the job more efficient, but what to do with all this wood? (Alas, gas heating, no fireplace, all that.) Now who is this pulling up? Here are some young entrepreneurs with a (guess what) flatbed truck helping clean up the town. A few dollars and a few minutes later and the job was complete.
Looking at a big job, one that seems more than our resources can handle, is frustrating if not downright discouraging. It’s also easy to procrastinate with our “good intentions”, that:
- …when I feel better I will…
- …when I have more money I can…
- …when I’m more experienced I might…
- (here’s a good churchy one) …I’m waiting on the full manifestation of the vision… (huh??)
Good thing that’s not what Ezra thought. Ezra was the leading priest of the Hebrew exiles in Babylon who were now returning to rebuild their home in Jerusalem which is what God expressly wanted for them. There were a few “missing pieces” in this assignment, however.
“Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they rebuilt the altar at its old site. Then they began to sacrifice burnt offerings on the altar to the Lord each morning and evening…Fifteen days before the Festival of Shelters began, the priests had begun to sacrifice burnt offerings to the Lord. This was even before they had started to lay the foundation of the Lord’s Temple.” (1)
Man, how I love that! They obeyed God despite their fear of the current occupants—does anyone relate to that besides me in our political climate? Not only that, they started obeying God before they even had the requisite temple area to obey Him in! No excuses, no waiting around for convenient circumstances. Starting from scratch means starting with what God puts in your hand right now, this moment, and trusting Him for the rest.
The New Testament version goes like this:
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed…” (2)
Losing your home, your livelihood, your dreams, it’s no fun. Starting over is sometimes a most daunting and formidable task, scary, and emotionally risky. But even so, we’re in good company. Look at Ezra…
(….and I just bet he didn’t have a pickup truck either.)
(1) Ezra 3:3,6 Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.