Thursday, June 27, 2013


"…I do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men" - Acts 24:16 We moved to the Ozarks over thirty years ago and have lived in the same home all these years. We love our home. It sits on two and a half acres surrounded by woods. We have added on twice and done multiple renovations over the years. I'm not sure there's a single part of the house that hasn't been changed and updated. The maintenance goes on and on. That's the thing about houses- they require maintenance. Our lives require maintenance too. In the fall, we decided it was time to paint again. The weather had been cool and though we enlisted the help of a friend who is a professional painter, we are doing a lot of the work ourselves. The weather has turned hot and we're almost finished. The house already looks great. But here's the problem (and the opportunity) that comes with maintenance- it costs time and money. There is always a price to pay for maintaining the things that are valuable to us, but it's always worth it. Why? Because when we do the work necessary to keep our valuables working well, it usually means those "things" will run better and smoother. Not convinced? Well, try this experiment: don't change the oil in your car this year or don't take a shower this month or don't brush your teeth this week (yuck). Chances are your car will break down, you will have an unusual odor following you and, well, you'll have an unusual odor in front of you too. But there are more important maintenance issues than painting and brushing teeth. The upkeep of our hearts and minds is the most important focus we should have. A few coats of paint may hardly be noticed, but maintaining the integrity of my heart brings meaning and purpose to life. Of course, there are prices to be paid for that maintenance as well. Doing a "maintenance check" of our lives is simply taking the time to inventory the valuable relationships in our lives. 1) My relationship with God. Am I taking the time to spend time with Jesus? Am I having a daily time with Jesus, studying His Word and spending time in prayer and confession? 2) My relationship with my spouse. Am I taking the time to spend time with my husband or wife? Am I being a good listener? Am I loving and respecting them? Am I cherishing them above all else? 3) My relationship with my kids. Am I taking the time to spend with my kids? (notice a pattern here?) Am I listening to them and accepting them for who they are and not what I want them to be? Am I doing what they like to do? 4) My relationship with friends. Am I taking the time to spend with friends? Am I being a "friend that sticks closer than a brother?" Am I encouraging and challenging them to be the best they can be? 5) My relationship with me. Am I taking the time to keep myself healthy? Am I exercising and eating like I should? Am I spending time with my favorite hobbies? Doing maintenance work is not easy and the cost can be high. But whether it's painting a house or spending time with my family, the price is always worth it. And the finished product is beautiful. By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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