Sample Chapter – To Sweep Or To Vacuum

The following is an excerpt from Ebenezer and Ninety-Eight Friends – Musings on Life, Scripture and the Hymns by Marty Magee.  If you like what you read you can order the book or read more sample chapters.

II Timothy 2:14-16

TO SWEEP OR TO VACUUM

Take time to be holy, Let Him be thy Guide
And run not before Him, Whatever betide.
Take Time to Be Holy, W.D. Longstaff

Our company was coming from New Mexico in three days. Everyone knows to expect a cool blue backyard swimming pool in sunny California. Since I’m the resident people pleaser, I decided to do my part to get the pool ready. Until then, my husband, David, and I had an agreement. He kept the pool maintained. I swam in it. This worked for me.

This time, though, since I wanted it done right away, I decided I should get to work. That afternoon, I went to the backyard. Hanging on the wall outside was a long blue tea strainer. I took it off its rack and skimmed the leaves off the top of the water.

I began to realize this was just the beginning. On the same rack was a long, hollow metal pole with two holes at one end. I knew this had something to do with pool maintenance. I took it off its holder. I had to find the right contraption to go on the end of it. I looked in David’s storage cabinet and found a brush, of sorts. It had two knobs that clipped into the holes of the long pole.

Now I was making progress. I maneuvered it until I got it in the pool. I went all the way around, sweeping like a proud new housewife. I even scrubbed the sides of the pool like I’d seen David do so many times. Then I found another device. This one had wheels. I tried to make it fit somehow into the brush thing. I thought maybe the wheels would make the brush work more smoothly. I couldn’t figure it out. I found another brush, thinner, but stronger, and it worked. Again, a few times around the pool.

I am so good at this. I probably won’t need David’s help.

I noticed lots of dirt swirling in the water. I’d better turn the pool pump on so the dirt will go down…wherever it goes. I couldn’t wait for David to come home and see how well I was doing.

“What are you doing?” were the first words out of his mouth as he walked out the back door. Not, “You sure are working hard!” Not, “You’ve got most of the work done for me. Thanks!”

“Honey, I was planning to vacuum the pool as soon as I got home from work.”

Vacuum? What’s wrong with sweeping?

“You swept it and stirred up the dirt. I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to vacuum. You’ve simply swished it around, which could clog the filter.”

As I realized I had made the wrong choice, I thought of my spiritual life. Do I ever clog things up? Does some wiser Christian have to wait until the dust settles before my futile attempts at doing God’s work can be corrected?

I need to check with God regularly through prayer and study of His Word. Then I should know when to sweep and when to vacuum.

It is not good to have zeal without knowledge,
Nor to be hasty and miss the way. Proverbs 19:2

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