“For the want of a nail”

Once again, I find myself scurrying to write an article for the newsletter. The inflexible end of the month cannot be altered and so the looming publication of this article must once again be completed and submitted.

It snowed all day yesterday and through much of the night. The world, at least what I can see from my window, is encased in a mantle of snow. It is lovely and tranquil to look upon. The evergreens are draped in white and the snow glistens in the sunlight that is breaking through the receding clouds.

Though it is peaceful and picturesque, as soon as this article is done, I will don my winter clothes, drag out my electric snowblower, plastic shovels and disturb the beautiful snow which God has placed over the landscape.

Thus “snow” will cease to be a peaceful reminder of God’s work and become a four-letter word demanding I engage in work that disrupts my routines and complicates my life.

I am reminded that my little snowblower will struggle with the depth of snow and that in the church’s storage shed is a two-stage 5 horsepower blower that would dispense the snow with little effort. The problem is there is a small tube, cracked with age, that does not allow the engine to receive fuel. I doubt if the rubber tube cost much more than $5.00 and can easily be replaced. Each fall I think about replacing the part and then forget about it till there is 10 inches of white stuff in my driveway. And with each passing year of non-use, other issues have lessened the likelihood of the snowblower working properly.

The activities of work and church seem more important and the lack of snow on the ground in September makes the acquisition of a small rubber tube a low priority. Still, it a reminder of Benjamin Franklin’s quote:

“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,

For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,

For the want of a horse the rider was lost,

For the want of a rider the battle was lost,

For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,

And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”

Though forgetting to replace a 1-inch rubber tube will not bring down the kingdom of God, it does create additional work and struggle when the snow lays deep on the ground. So, if “want of a nail” or a rubber hose, causes failure or disruption, what happens when we forget to pray? Do we neglect to spend time in worship because there is no snow on the ground? Spending 5 minutes in prayer with the Lord, 10 minutes reading scripture or even 1 hour a week in worship can prepare us for the hardship of life. We can tell ourselves it will be warm winter and will not snow. We can become convinced we will not be sick or develop cancer. Hopefully, there will be no accidents or financial hardship. Many will persuade themselves that prayers cannot do what medical treatment of financial advice can do.

Jesus said, “… For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

Including time for worship may seem a trivial thing. Yet, a simple scripture from Proverbs or John can help us through difficult times. The remnants of a song inspire us to endure and the prayers of a congregation may lift us to overcome our toils. Like the mustard seed they empower us to face the challenges of a winter storm.

Jesus also declared: “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”

Just as John the Baptist has, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’ Jesus has prepared a place for us. We can prepare ourselves through prayers and worship to face the challenges of this world. Though they seem troublesome and inconvenient, spending time in prayers and worship can prepare us to walk with Jesus.

Now I must go and shovel snow. Oh for the want of a rubber hose!

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