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  • "A Musing Pastor"

Small things done well.

It probably didn't seem that important at the time. The cap on the power steering pump reservoir didn't find it's way back into place. It was such a small thing. The hood was dropped, the car started, and off they went to town. Unbeknownst to them, the steering fluid was spraying all over the underside of the hood, onto the engine, and then all over the serpentine belt.

Yesterday, my wife and I had a 20 minute lunch date at a local convenience store. How romantic huh? Well, as we walked into the store, I noticed a beat up car sitting right in the main thoroughfare in front of the store and there was something leaking out of the engine. We proceeded inside and ordered our food. I watched with interest. One person out of approximately a dozen or more people stopped to inquire of the car problem. The lady, maybe in her late 60s was trying to pour antifreeze into the radiator and not faring too well. I paid for lunch, handed Tracie the receipt and credit card and went outside to see if I could help.

I asked if I could help and she muttered something about the car not starting, it was heating up, and would probably need a jump start. I glanced down in the engine compartment and noticed there was no belt on the alternator. I pointed out the missing belt and then reached down into the oily space between the engine and the fender and retrieved the belt.

(When one serpentine belt comes off, it affects the power steering,

the alternator that charges the battery, the air conditioner,

the water pump that keeps the engine cool,

and a few other accessories.)

I held it up to her and said, "Here is your problem ma'am." I added, "you'll need a mechanic come and put the belt back on." It was at this moment, I noticed the cap for the power steering unit was askew. Steering fluid was all over the engine and the belt and pulleys. Apparently, someone had been checking or adding fluid to the steering pump reservoir and never put the cap back on properly. It seems insignificant. It caused much heartache. Spinning oily serpentine belts don't stay in place for long.

A quick inspection of the rest of car revealed a back door window missing with garbage bag taped over the opening. The cap for the windshield washing reservoir was not closed. The hood latch was broken. It was a mechanic's nightmare staring back at me. I so wanted to help but under a tight lunch time schedule, I instead offered to push the car into a parking space so the store traffic wouldn't be jammed up too badly. As I began pushing (Did I mention I was in dress clothes?) another customer saw what was occurring and came over quickly to lend a hand pushing. I thanked him and we managed the car into the Handicap parking space. I walked away wanting to do more. Instead, we went our way, enjoyed a quick lunch down at Victory Park, then I took my wife back to work.

Life is dictated by a multitude of little, seemingly insignificant, things. Do we tend to them? Do we hug our family? Do we eat healthy? Do we get some exercise daily? Do we pay attention to details of our vocation? To we say "please" and "thank you"? Do we hold doors for those coming behind us?

Do we maintain our faith? Do we offer a hand to somebody in need?

One moment of distraction led this mother and daughter into a place of frustration. One cap left untightened doesn't seem too bad. It was for the '60 something' lady at the convenience store.

Living in faith requires attention to the small things. Faithfully following Jesus doesn't require us to walk across the Grand Canyon on a highwire. It doesn't require us to walk across hot coals or pick up rattle snakes. Faith simply needs us to tend to the ordinary, the seemingly insignificant, the everyday things that require our attention.

"The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ’Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ "His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:20-23, NIV)

In the next 12 hours, I hope you notice 10 small things you can tend to and do well. Go for it!

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