Well, winter decided to arrive on the Island, which meant we had three days of snow with accumulations of about 25 centimetres. Growing up on the prairies this was a skiff, and we could expect tons more. But here on Vancouver Island we are spoiled, and this will likely be the extent of our snow for the year. The snow that falls here is usually very wet and heavy and quickly turns to ice or slippery slush. It is nasty for the few hours it is here, but soon it melts and is gone. Until it melts, it is quite dangerous to walk through.
That is why I am quick to get the shovel out and clear the sidewalk that runs along the church property next to the road. Many people in the area use this sidewalk, including children who attend the school next to us. It seems like a long stretch of sidewalk when the snow is so wet and heavy, and, of course, the city has plowed all the snow off the road onto our sidewalk. Nonetheless, I get out the shovel and clear the walkway for those who need to pass by our church. I usually end up with sore arms, back and legs, but the way has been made safe for others.
As I was shoveling last weekend, I was thinking about this task. It was a labour of love for people who would never say “Thank you” (they do grump if we are slow to clear the walk). It is caring for strangers, our neighbours, and it is done for the glory of God. Hopefully they decide that the church does care about them, and this small gesture reminds them of a church who loves them enough to do something to keep them safe.
As I was shoveling the snow, verses like this came to mind:
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:3-4)
I never walk on that sidewalk, but my neighbours do. Therefore, I will keep the sidewalk clear out of love for my neighbour, to the glory of God. As God’s Word reminds me, it is not all about me. In fact, the less there is of me, the more God can shine through.
– Pastor Gary