Let me start by saying that I love snow – even if it means shoveling. Since I was six years old I have been shoveling snow. I have been conditioned that as soon as snow falls you pull out your shovel and clear the walks (one never knows when the next snow fall will come).
So when the snow fell this week to grace our Christmas, I was quick to get to the church and shovel the sidewalk along the front of our property so that our neighbours can get to the bus or grocery store safely. I know some think I am crazy to clear that 150 feet of sidewalk, but I think it is important.
The challenge is that the city has no place to put its snow, so it is ploughed onto our sidewalk. Just as I get it clean the city trucks come by and fill it in again, with two feet of hard packed snow.
Yesterday I finished clearing the sidewalk and started to work in the church. I was feeling good, until I heard the sound of the trucks coming. Sure enough, they filled in my sidewalk once again. I grabbed the shovel and started the arduous task of clearing the snow away … again. And I asked myself, why do I do it?
That is when the Spirit said, “You do it to help others. Just like being a pastor. You clear the way week after week so people can find their way to Jesus. The work can be hard, and sometimes discouraging, but you do it because you care for the people. You don’t always see it, but it makes a difference. Keep shoveling…”
Even as I was taking in that message, a man who had been sledding with his family in the school ground came to me and reminded me how several years earlier I had brought him and his daughter into the church and I gave her a picture Bible. He wanted to thank me because it helped his daughter. I had made a difference without knowing it.
So I keep shoveling the snow, making the path clear for people. It is a parable for my life. God knows who will use the path that was made. Galatians 6:9 reminds us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” That is good enough for me. Where is my shovel?
– Pastor Gary