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Maintenance Is For Weenies

If a man is lazy, the rafters sag.
Ecclesiastes 10:18

We sat at lunch one day with a team from our office. It was a farewell meal for an intern who had joined us for three or four months. He was a very likable chap, had a bright mind, and was a genuinely nice guy. For our part, we had put him in tasteful accommodations, given him a car to drive, had him participate in some interesting projects, and given him exposure to life in Silicon Valley when all was well in Dot.com land. So at the end of it, all my wife asked, “What did you learn from your time with us?” His answer caused more than one person to nearly choke on their Chinese food: “I don’t like maintenance.” That was it. The grand conclusion from the twenty-year-old on what he had learned from his work stint: maintenance sucks. 

The first to respond was our Information Technology manager (who, incidentally, spent most of his day maintaining other people’s computers). He gently explained how he had married an older woman who already had a child and was, no surprise, grown-up. He, on the other hand, came straight from home and his mom was still picking up his dirty laundry and cooking all his meals. There were some tough consequences of not having learned the basics of maintenance.

Others around the table piled on so much maintenance advice that the young intern was quickly regretting his, what now seemed less-than-astute, observation. 

Finally, I said to him, “God is a maintainer.” Every day forgives our sin, cleans up after us, renews the cells in our body, causes the sun to rise, sends rain, filters our dirty air, and refreshes our spirits. If we want to get into God’s business we need to remember that God is not just an Architect, he is also running Maintenance.

We are staying in a rental house and every day I try to do something for the house. It is an opportunity to grow in stewardship, a way to reflect the character of God-the-maintainer. Left to itself, a house falls apart. Left to ourselves, we fall apart. Don’t wait for some glamorous job to come along: volunteer for maintenance. Is it not ego that says, ‘My skills are so special that I will only do thus and so’?

The new and exciting probably doesn’t get a better reward than the faithful plodding. Cleaning up gets as much kudos as building up. Finally, remember that lack of maintenance will result in a leaky roof and damage to the whole structure. Not sure what grand thing to do with your life? Take care of the maintenance and the big ideas will follow.

If a man is lazy, the rafters sag;
if his hands are idle, the house leaks. Ecclesiastes 10:18

Reflections

  • Are you avoiding maintenance?
  • Do you start new things at the expense of the “old” not getting done?
  • Have you limited your sphere of influence in the kingdom by being unwilling to do small jobs? 
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