Wheat close up - Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Small problems don’t stay that way

Small problems are annoying. I’ve blogged on this before, but I’m a big picture person. Not a detail person. Details drive me up the wall, and I tend to ignore them for as long as possible. So on Monday afternoon on my way home from work when I stopped to get gas, it was unusual that I noticed a detail about my car. It was sitting somewhat crooked. As I filled up with gas, I reset the odometer in my car so I can eagerly check my miles per gallon, and the computer in my car told me that my left rear tire was about 10 pounds low.

Of course, no one in Wichita has free air anymore. So $.75 and a dust stain on my dress pants later, I had all of my tires are pressure, and I was driving home. The tire hold the air just fine all the way home. No big deal. Got home. Sort of slept (not really; I think I’ve forgotten how) and went back into work the next day. The tire was low but not desperately. Even so, I decided to make an appointment with my local dealership to have it checked out.

So yesterday morning, I took my beloved car into the dealer. And surprise surprise, I had a rather large nail pierced right through the sidewall. To make a long story short, I had to buy a new tire.

And I spent a good half hour pondering exactly how a rusty square nail could cost me $150.

Wheat close up - Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Wheat close up – Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verses are Matthew 13:31-32.

Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

This verse is a positive verse, but I’m going to take a negative spin with it. Jesus used the illustration of a mustard seed to demonstrate how God can take something small and do something awesome with it, turning it into something great.

Well … you know that can work a different way.

Things that start off small can eventually become big, whether they’re good things or bad things. A nail in a tire is a bad thing, but if you leave it alone and don’t fix it, it can lead to a blow out … which can lead to deaths … possibly even more than one.

Can a petty, rusty square nail really cause someone to die?

If you don’t fix the problem before it becomes unfixable, yes.

Seeds are pretty spectacular little things. They’re so tiny, but after you plant them and take care of them, they become such big things. Trees or wheat crops that feed millions. The law of sowing and harvesting is incredible!

A virus is a spectacular little thing too, but even though it’s tiny–microscopic even–all it has to do is start multiplying, and pretty soon that tiny little microscopic annoyance has become something huge and out of control that can do a lot of damage.

I guess my thought this morning is that we have so many opportunities in life to fix problems before they grow beyond our means to control, but so many times we choose to let them go. We convince ourselves that the problem isn’t that big of a deal or that it will all work itself out. Well, yes, it probably will, but if you would take the initiative to fix it before it spirals out of control, maybe you can reduce the damage.

Everything is a seed. Everything you say, everything you do, everything you think. You’re planting seeds every day, and one day you’re going to watch your crops grow into something much bigger than what you planted. So if you planted something that’s too big for you to control, you need to take steps to control it before it starts controlling you.

It’s like that nail in my tire. I didn’t have to get it fixed. I could have just kept filling the tire up with air and waiting for it to deflate. But eventually that tire would have blown.

Most problems can be fixed while they’re still small. No, it’s not fun. Fixing problems is never fun, especially when it’s your fault. But it’s better to suffer a little and fix the problem while you can before it grows beyond your capabilities.

Believe me when I say if you wait until it’s too late, the suffering is far far worse.

How much time do you have left to look?

What is alluring in the concept of procrastination? Why does it seem so much better to do something tomorrow instead of today? The “grass is greener on the other side” concept makes more sense to me. So why is it so easy to procrastinate?

At least with the “grass is greener” concept, you are actively doing something. You’re feeling jealous. And even if what you’re accomplishing is negative, at least you’re accomplishing something. But procrastinating? What does procrastinating accomplish? Wasting time?

In my case, procrastination usually rears its head when I’m too busy and I have too much work to do. I have too many projects to know which one is the one I should work on, so if I give into procrastination I don’t work on any of them. I have too many novels or short stories to write, so I don’t write any of them. Recently, procrastination has been really easy for me.

But the problem with procrastination is that even though you stop working, time keeps moving. Time isn’t on our side, fellow procrastinators, and one more day that passes with us doing nothing is one less day we have to get our work done. And when our deadline hits, we’ll be out of luck and there will be no more time to waste.

In that case, you have two choices — you can either scramble around a few hours before and do a crappy job. Or you can give up.

Now, I usually end up scrambling around and producing a half-decent piece of work which is why I can procrastinate so long . . . because only I know how much time I really wasted in its production (the guilt from things like this really cured me of the vast amount of my procrastination issues before I got out of college).

But some deadlines you can’t extend. And some responsibilities have a definite time limit. And there is no scrambling around to get it done at the last minute.

Today’s verse is Isaiah 55:6.

6 Seek the Lord while you can find him.
      Call on him now while he is near.

When it comes to our relationship with God, we should never procrastinate, but it’s just as easy to do it as it is with anything else. Maybe it’s because humans are wired to think that tomorrow will come like it always has.

But no one is guaranteed tomorrow. Shoot, we’re not even guaranteed today. I could get in my car to drive to work in ten minutes and hit a loose cow in the road and be killed. Someone driving in front of me could lose something off the back of their truck, like they did in June 2008, and I could go flying off an overpass and die. 

The point is, no one knows what today holds for us. And no one can be 100 percent certain that we will even see tomorrow. So why are we so confident that we have enough time to procrastinate? How can we procrastinate when we don’t even know what our deadline is?

The deal is this, I personally believe that as long as we’re alive on earth, if you seek the Lord, you will find Him. I don’t think God ever gives up on people. I don’t think there is ever someone who is too far away to come back. There are no examples in Scripture of turning anyone away who is genuinely seeking. 

The problem is, how much time do you have left to seek? Because if your life ends and you’re not right with God, you won’t be able to find Him anymore no matter how hard you look.

This even applies to those of us who already believe. We should still seek God in our lives after we have decided to believe in Christ. But even as believers, we have a limited amount of time on Earth and if we seek only the things of the world, what good will we accomplish for God while we’re here? And then, even when we get to heaven and even though God will be near to us, we will no longer have opportunity to serve Him where it matters.

I don’t know how much time I have. But whatever time I have, I need to make the most of by being focused on the things that matter and seeking God with everything I have. Because even though procrastination is easy, it’s never the right thing to do. And nothing worth achieving was ever easy.