I have noticed something interesting about the speeches made at the Academy Awards… people always thank their partners, parents, children, friends, co-workers, directors, producers and (it seems) everyone else but I have never once heard anyone thank a critic! A critic is someone who carefully observes the actions or performance of an individual and notes what is lacking. Then they take delight in pointing out the flaws to the whole world. A coach is someone who carefully observes the actions or performance of an individual and notes what is lacking. The difference is that they are full of encouragement and want to see you succeed! They believe in you and want you to become all you can be. It is interesting that these two roles actually require the same qualifications; the only difference is the attitude which you bring to the role. I have met some critical, harsh and mean-spirited individuals who only seem content when they are putting someone in their place but I have noticed something about them…they are often lonely, disappointed and bitter because of the way they have chosen to view the world. Some of the most important people in my life see my flaws (a list probably as long as my arm) but they choose to help me work through them and become a better man rather than criticising me for them, pulling me down. And then, of course, there is the greatest coach of all – Jesus who stands alongside us cheering us on. So critic or a coach – the choice is yours!
I was enjoying the ride in my mate’s very nice and very new car. It had every gadget you could imagine…cruise control, heated seats, DVD player with 3 screens and heaps more as well.
But the thing that really stood out to me was when we finally found a parking spot and started to reverse the ‘parking sensors’ automatically turned on and began to lend a hand. A little screen lit up on the dashboard to show you how far your car was away from any obstacle.
If you were a safe distance away, there was a gentle beep and one light lit up, as you get closer more lights light up and the intensity and rhythm of the beeps increases until it is a continuous warning that you are about to hit something.
I was thinking how good it would be to have built in ‘sensors’ which tell us we are approaching danger or about to do something really stupid. Imagine how many problems would be avoided or how many annoying ‘dents’ we would happily live without!
But I was reminded that we actually have a set of sensors available…the problem is that most people either ignore or disconnect them!
“A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
So it is up to us…it is time to turn on your ‘sensors’ and head out, giving the Lord an opportunity to speak into your life.
He hears your prayers, He speaks through His Word (The Bible) and His ‘still small voice’ will lead you if you will listen.
I kept adding to the pile but it just didn’t get any bigger.
My goal… to remove all of the surplus (but full of potential) stuff that had accumulated in my garage, in my shed, down the side of the house and even up in the roof…it was council ‘clean up’ day!
As I made my 10th trip from my store of junk to the road, I noticed something… many people were diligently emptying their garages but just as many were wandering from house to house picking up things that were just ‘too good’ to throw away!
In fact, some people came prepared with bags to carry their loot home, I saw people trying to fit things into the back of their sports car and I even saw a 2 tonne truck driving around, collecting whatever could be worth something. A thought crossed my mind as I loaded up for my 11th trip to the kerb… I am tossing all of this stuff because I do not consider it necessary or helpful anymore. The value it once held diminished to the point where I am not prepared to give it any space at all and so…to the kerb it goes!
But obviously not everyone agrees with my judgement because a lot of my junk was taken home by someone else! Just because someone thinks that you are nothing special and even if they treat you like a piece of junk I know at least one who is in the salvaging business. He took my life when no-one else wanted it and made it His own and I know that He is looking to do the same for you!
I didn’t know it was there and I was really surprised that it was.
It looked OK, it felt OK but I thought that a little cleaning wouldn’t go amiss.
So I hired a carpet cleaning machine and I poured in the hot water and detergent and started cleaning the carpet of my new offices…As I said, the carpet looked pretty clean and so I wasn’t expecting much of a difference but as soon as I began the first pass with the “rug doctor 2000” the game was on!
I was horrified by what came out of my carpet. A mix of sand, dust, dirt and I-don’t-want-to-know-what-else!
The water in the recovery tank wasn’t just brown; it was liquid mud!The more I cleaned, the more stuff came out; I thought it would never end but eventually I completed the task. I now have carpets that don’t only look clean but they really are clean. One day ago they were filled with debris and impurity but now they have been washed and cleaned and are ready to fulfil their task.
Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and I think that I look OK.
After a shower and a shave I can scrub up alright – but I have learnt a lesson from my carpet – it is not what is on the outside that counts!
The real problems and impurities can be hidden below the surface where no-one else goes. Just like my carpet, we need someone to wash us clean!
“Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow” Isaiah 1:18