Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Shovel on the Highway

Driving the highway between my home and a near-by city is something that has become a regular and rather boring experience. I usually read when my husband drives but when I have to do the driving I keep myself awake by watching for anything interesting on the side of the road.

One day I saw something that made me chuckle. A snow shovel was stuck upright out of a rather high snow bank. We’d had a lot of snow that week, but there was no sign that a vehicle had been stuck in the ditch. Seeing the shovel made me wonder what happened to the person who owned it. And what was he trying to do with it? The idea of trying to shovel the highway with such a small tool was ludicrous. I began to picture someone attempting such a feat, becoming overwhelmed and exhausted and in frustration abandoning the shovel in the bank.

Whatever had happened, that shovel kept my mind occupied all the way to the city. It made me think of how we, in our own strength try to do the Lord’s work. So many of us are attempting what is comparable to clearing a highway with a snow shovel! There is no way we can do it.

The Lord cautioned his disciples about this after his resurrection. He told them – “… wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Sprirt” (Acts 1:4,5). Jesus knew they could never accomplish the things he was about to ask of them unless they had the Holy Spirit to help them. He said – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Trying to clear a highway with a snow shovel is an impossible task. “But with God, all things are possible” (Matt.19:26). With God, we can do what seems impossible, without becoming overwhelmed or exhausted. The key is to rely on His Spirit, His strength and to tune in to what God is doing. When we see and recognize His hand at work, our load is instantly lighter and we are energized to go on. When we allow the Spirit to work through us we are encouraged by what He does and revitalized for the work.

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