Over the past several months, my bride and I have been working to make our newly-purchased house in Florida into our home. It has been a seemingly-endless journey.
Husbands, I have no doubt that you all know what I am talking about. We bought our home complete with all the furnishings already here — even down to the very dishes in the kitchen cabinets, and the towels in the bathrooms. But over these months, we have been gradually changing this place from a “home” into “OUR home.”
First, it was the window treatments. We had to have “plantation shutters.” So we had those installed.
But then they did not look right with the kitchen cabinets, so we had those refaced. The bedroom furniture did not seem right, so we sold what was there and purchased new. But then the cabinets and the shutters just seemed to make the whole house seem so dark and dingy, so we had the whole inside of the house repainted. Every room got a new coat of paint.
While I am not a handyman, I have been busy hanging pictures, running wires, and doing the “little” jobs all throughout this process. That is why I took note when I read the recent story about homeowner Jerry Lynn.
Thirteen years ago, this “DIY”er was trying to figure out where he should put a hole in his wall for a TV wire. He came up with an ingenious plan to figure it out. Lynn went up to the second floor of his house and lowered his wife’s alarm clock on a string through an air vent. According to CNN, he “thought he could listen to the alarm, which he set to go off after 10 minutes, and know where to put the hole.”
But then the string broke. The clock fell. Lynn was still able to use it, though; when the alarm went off, “[h]e could still hear where he needed to poke a hole in the wall.” There was only one problem with this: Lynn left the clock in the wall, and, much to his surprise, the alarm kept going off every night at the same time — for 13 years.
Lynn had figured the batteries in the clock would likely die soon, but each night he and his wife would be treated to about a minute of beeping that could be heard “from any room on the first floor.” Over that length of time, both Lynn and his wife got accustomed to that alarm going off, and even commented that they did not mind the regular beeping of the wall – at least until recently.
“It was kind of cute,” they said, but recently the nightly alarm became “too much to bear,” and the clock was removed from the wall.
What do you do with something like that – after it is removed from the wall? The Lynns did not throw it out. Rather, the clock now sits on their mantle, still set for 7:50 pm. But the alarm is now inactive!
Hmmm… I wonder how many “clocks in the wall”, you and I have in our lives? Are there things we have just learned to tolerate, to “deal with”, to ignore, or simply sweep under the rug?
These things may be pounds we “cannot lose”, anger we will not get rid of, forgiveness we will not grant, or perhaps something like habits we enjoy too much to break, grudges we relish holding onto, or the like. The list could go on and on, but we all have them, don’t we? We have allowed those “clocks” to become a regular part of our daily routines, and we don’t really see any way, or reason, to go to the trouble of attempting to eliminate them from our lives.
My friends, that ought not so to be. If Christ is present in our lives (and that is a big IF!), then we ought to be different from the world around us. Those things we may be holding onto are things that we expect our neighbors, our co-workers, some of our friends and perhaps even some family members to do, but not us!
In Romans 12, the Apostle Paul encourages each of us to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed….”. Another version of that verse suggest that we not let the world “squeeze us into its mold”.
You know, that “clock in the wall” may seem to be an insignificant little thing that only happens once a day, but it could also be something major that is robbing us of our joy, stealing our happiness and contentment, and perhaps even ruining our health. There is nothing that the enemy of our souls would like more than for that to happen.
And the battle that is raging within you right now is the proof of his strategy.
But friends, it does not have to be that way? Tolerating sin in our lives does not have to be something we just “deal
Rather, God wants our lives to be filled with “what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
So the question for the day is: What can you and I ask God to transform in our lives as we decide to move away from the goal of conforming to the pattern of the world?
He will do it. Let’s not continue to put up with the “clocks in the wall” of our lives!
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the Times-Gazette and the News Journal. He is also the former Pastor of Port William UMC.