Grab a chair and drag it over here by the fire—bring a cup of something hot while you’re at it. Me, I’m waiting on a piping hot cup of chicken noodle soup.
It was one of those nasty, West Texas, rainy, winter days that you can only appreciate if you’ve been out in one. The sky was gun metal gray. The rain was constantly drizzling—accosting you from the north. The wind—well, I don’t care how many layers of clothes you had on, it cut that cold straight in, right through to your bones. It made sure you felt its presence. Toss in some sleet and occasional snow flakes to spice things up.
I was out in that mess, much against my wishes, pouring concrete and trying to not get my forty-ton (loaded) truck stuck in the muddy mire that the homeowner was referring to as his back yard. Lo! One of my least favorite finishers was on the job. He and I have locked horns on more occasions than I can count on both hands—even if I take off both of my boots, too.
Those of you who have gotten cross-wise with me know that I can be a mean, ornery cuss when my dander gets up and my Yankee temper kicks in. This particular finisher and I usually communicate with multiple profanities. (Oh quit lookin’ at me like that. Yeshua is perfect, I am not. I was a sailor for 13 years, and I’ve now been a truck driver for 13 more. If I stub my toe in the middle of the night, “Bless you, Jesus!” is not the phrase you will hear popping out of my mouth. I’ll be the first to tell you that my mouth is my greatest stumbling block in my Walk with Him.)
Neither of us wanted to be out there (moving back to me and the finisher—although, I don’t think Yeshua’d enjoy the day, either. He’s probably turn it into spring!). The wind, the rain, occasional sleet and snow, the low temperatures topped off with a below freezing wind-chill—it was just a nasty day to be working outside. We, the finisher and I, glared at each other for a few while I set my truck up to pour the concrete for him.
Let’s take a moment here to look up some Word. Back in Vayikra (Leviticus) the Father had a Word for His chosen.
Leviticus (Vayikra) 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
You know—the basis for the Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. Yeshua (Jesus) expanded on that in Matthew.
Matthew 5:43-45 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
So let me see if I got this straight, Father… Not only do I have to love my neighbor as myself, but You want me do the same for my enemies? Those that rub me the wrong way? Aw, c’mon! Do I have to? That just . . . that’s just, Father. It’s just.
We started pouring concrete and I noticed that this particular finisher that my love for borders on despise kept pausing to put his bare hands in his pockets to warm them up—alternating with blowing on them.
I always have multiple sets of gloves in my truck. I have the set I’m currently using, a backup set sitting on my defroster blower so they stay warm and dry, and a third set up under my dash on my heater core.
Did the Holy Spirit smack me and point to the man with the ice-cold hands? No. The Father knows I know when I’m supposed to do right by His Word. He didn’t say a word. I sighed, grabbed the set of gloves I had that were on top of the vent (the nice, toasty ones that are my immediate backup for when my primaries get wet) and hopped out of the truck.
The finisher looked up as I climbed down off my truck. I don’t know if he expected me to rail at him to hurry up and quit messing with his cold hands, or what. What he got was a pair of hot gloves. “Here, these are yours.” I handed them to him and got back in the truck. He looked at me kind of funny as I started pouring again, but he put the gloves on. I could see the tension evident in his shoulders ease somewhat at this small relief from the discomfort of the day.
We finished the pour and I got out to start washing my chutes off to put them up and leave. He came over to me and shook my hand. Didn’t say a word, just shook my hand.
Now I don’t know if this man knows Messiah or not. Most of the Spanish in my neck of the woods profess to be Catholic. I don’t know if he is, or isn’t. All I know is that I’ve been called to preach the Gospel of Christ to all the world, and today I did it by example. I lived the sermon.
Will we continue to be civil to each other? I hope so. It felt pretty good today to not be at odds with each other.
Join me in living the Word in the upcoming days. It doesn’t have to be world-changing. It could be something a small as a pair of hot gloves on a cold day.