New Life, even When it Seems Impossible

I have a large yard to mow, but not as large as it was at the beginning of last year. The place I now rent has a riding lawn mower that I can use. It has been a good mower. I have kept up with the large yard without any problems. Last year, however, I had the mower deck set too low and forgot about a tree stump that was in the yard.

I was mowing, hit something, and the mower stopped running. I lifted the deck and saw the stump. I rolled the mower forward and pulled on the rope to restart it. I pulled and pulled but the rope would not move. I looked at the mower and saw a hole in the motor and a broken rod sticking out of the hole. I was in trouble!

I knew a man who repaired and sold used motors, so I contacted him to see what could be done. He made me a deal on a used motor and I accepted his offer. He had made a deal with someone else he knew to rebuild a motor. This rebuilt motor was put on my mower.

From that day on the mower was not the same. It leaked oil and had no power. I complained and the man came and got the mower. A few days later, and with the grass much taller, the mower was returned. The grass was so tall that the mower could not cut the grass as short as I wanted. It took me two or three tries to mow the whole yard. Since the mower could not keep up, I finally abandoned about half of the yard.

At the end of the season all the uncut grass turned brown and I burned it off, thinking that next spring I would keep the whole yard mowed. I would keep it mowed before it got too tall. I would keep ahead of it; that's what I would do. Wrong!

As I started mowing the grass this year, it was the toughest I had ever known it to be. I could not mow the grass as short as it needed. I very quickly cut the yard in half again. The mower would not mow as fast as it had last year. It had no power against the fast- growing grass. I raised the deck two notches higher than ever before, but the mower kept dying. I had only about five minutes of mowing left when the motor died. I pulled the rope over and over, but it would not start. It didn't seem to have any "fire."

I called a friend and asked how to tell if it had "fire"; he told me how. When I took out the spark plug, it was very dirty so I cleaned it. I put it back in and pulled the rope. It started on the first pull, ran about two minutes, and died. I pulled out the plug, cleaned it again, pulled the rope and it ran about one minute before it died. I knew that I had big problems. How could a plug get that dirty that fast?

I called the owner and told him about my problems. He, being a mechanic, told me that my problem was hopeless unless I would buy a $1.18 spark plug and replace the old one. I thought how he was not here, how he could not understand how the mower was acting. He could not see that it had been weak from the beginning. He didn't know the bitterness I felt towards the man who had sold me a DUD of a used motor, one that did not have any power like the old one did. I decided that I would buy the new spark plug and then when the owner saw that it didn't help, maybe he would advise me as to where to go from there.

I bought the new spark plug, put it in and pulled the rope. The motor started, but it had also started briefly when I had cleaned the old plug. I figured it would not run long so I climbed on and backed it out of the garage. I was astonished at the power it seemed to have. I mowed a couple laps with it set two notches higher than last year. It did not bog down. I put it into high gear; it still did not bog down. I mowed the grass at high speed, even the part that had not been cut in the last two weeks. I began doing some thinking about the $1.18 spark plug and all the bitterness I had held for the man who sold me the motor. Had I ever been this same kind of a stumbling block for someone else? Had I caused bitterness to grow in someone else's life?

I have a friend who paints cars. He had painted part of a car and the customer had brought it back complaining about the hood. That was not even my friend's paint or his problem. Yet, I watched him repaint the whole hood at no charge. He left no room for bitterness in the other person. I know in my heart that Our God will bless him many times in excess of the cost of that paint job.

The mower has new life. Through God allowing all of this to happen, my life will be better because I now know that I was harbouring bitterness. Bitterness that could have been fixed with a $1.18 spark plug. I stumbled over $1.18. Failure is only final when we do not learn from our mistakes. If I had at the beginning called the owner of the mower and explained to him my problem, I believe he would have told me to replace the spark plug and I would not have had any bitterness. Our God uses every day problems to allow us to see into the spiritual realm. He has made it so easy for us to see, if we would only open our eyes.

In His Love and Service,

Bill Dorman (John 13:34-35)

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