Jeremy Horn and I were back on the road last week talking with radio stations about our new singles. This post is not about that. It’s about a thought I had in a gross public restroom in some random truck stop along the way.
I like to dry my hands with paper towels. Ever since they started making warm air hand dryers (with the “w” consistently scratched out by some budding comedian), I have always looked around for the paper towel holder which is usually still nearby somewhere. The thing is… I know that it’s better for the environment to keep our waste to a minimum. And I care about the environment. I live in Austin, TX. I think they check whether or not you are environmentally conscious before they let you move here. I want to take care of the world we live in. I want to pass on blessings to the next generation, not just pass on our problems. But I just feel better drying my hands with a paper towel.
In other words, I say I believe something, but I have no intention on acting on it in a circumstance where it causes me the least inconvenience. Using the air dryer takes a few more seconds of my time. And sometimes my hands still feel a little damp afterwards. And each time I’m in a restroom I think to myself, “It’s just one paper towel!” But sometimes you need two or three to get the job done correctly. Have I contributed truckloads of waste to the environment because of my truck stop habits? Probably not. Maybe just one truck. But I have said that I believed in something and consistently acted in opposition to that.
Most of us say we need to read our Bibles every day…, but we don’t. We say we should pray more…, but we don’t. We say we should tithe or give to the poor or love our neighbor…, but we don’t. We treat them like New Year’s Resolutions. We say them knowing full well that we have no intention on keeping it more than a week or so. And when I say “we”, I mean “we”. Me too. In Luke 14, Jesus says we should count the cost. I have counted the cost of using an air dryer instead of paper towels and although it is not ideal, I mean to do my small part in the truck stop restrooms of the world. Now, I have to start counting the cost in areas that are even more important.
What areas do you need to start counting the cost in? Where are your actions not meeting up with what you say you believe?
4 thoughts on “Counting the Cost”
I keep saying I will spend more time with my sister because I want to be as close as I was to her (if not closer) when we were younger. I put it off because “there’s not of time in the day” and the 30 minute drive seems like it takes forever sometimes. Now she is struggling with health problems and she is planning on moving to the other side of the US (way more than 30 minutes away). I get mad at myself for letting our relationship fall apart. I’ve started to count the cost more as the moving day draws near.
Ouch. What you write about how we (I) say “I should read the Bible more, pray more, give more to the poor” and then don’t do it is something I have done. Often it is hard to break out of complacency, and to introduce new habits and new ways of thinking and behaving. I know that life comes from reading the Bible, I know that I am changed to be more like Jesus when I pray, and that I walk closer to the plan God has for me when I pray, and I know that Jesus wants me to look after my neighbor, and that I should do these things. Now, I hope I don’t just admit this and not take action. I think it helps to have others around me who do these things. Evenso, the Bible doesn’t say “If you are with others, do these things,” but that they are to be done without excuse. Thank you for the challenge.
I totally get what you are saying about the importance of following through on our espoused beliefs with real action. But I do want to tell you (just so you may feel a little better about the paper towels, and even though in the point above, it is a little “beside the point”): I am a nurse and we wash our hands ALL THE TIME. I also subscribe to a great website called Medscape. It provides great info on nursing research. Recently (in the last 5 yrs or so) a study was done on the “cleanest” way to dry your hands: the paper towel or the air dryer. The final result? the paper towel. it turns out the germs from the commode can be sprayed as high as 6 feet from the force of the commode flush. the air dry sucks in air from the bathroom (yes, the same air with the toilet germs floating at the 5-6 foot height. The air dryer then blows that air, and the germs onto your hands which you just washed–and now are dirty again—where as the paper towels are generally in an enclosed container and create no air currents for the toilet germs. So–while the aire dryer may save a tree–the paper towel keeps you from getting sick–so you can plant another tree….which helps the environment—and also keeps you well enough to put some actions behind all our other–more eternal–beliefs :). Just had to share, one paper towel fiend to another! 🙂
Years ago I actively went to pray in the morning at my church. Prayer time was for an hour. When I was first learning to pray, I never could go an hour. Listening to my pastor pray began teaching me how to pray. So for years I prayed, but it was robotic. Virtually the same people, same words, every day. Eventually (after I was married) prayer time–unfortunately–became gripe time. I pray for a few moments until I got to a person in particular and then spend the next almost hour angry and griping. After this I would leave the church and all the while was waiting for “us time” to talk. It was not until years later and not able to go to morning prayer that prayer was no longer a one-sided conversation. Prayer was communicating with God. Eventually prayer was not a dedicated time but virtuly throughout the day I would take things to God and listen for Him to teach me something. Now I hear God often and prayer is as it should be…time with God and keeping your ear tuned to Heaven.
A very…touching song is your song titled Martyr’s Song. Few songs move me powerfully, but this song makes me weep almost every time I hear it. I wrote about this numerous times at http://www.rwministrs.com/blogs.aspx and type Martyr’s Song in the search box.