A few days back I reflected on a commonsense proverb which simply states, “…what does not kill you will make you stronger.”

Now I know a lot of people believe this phrase. We hear it in those heroic adventure stories about the hero or heroine overcoming great obstacles in order to persevere to greatness. I think of the movie “Ben Hur” where Charlton Heston is in the bottom of the boat, all muscled up, rowing away. He went on to greatness did he not? “No pain, no glory” seems to be a popular adage connected to the proverb “…what does not kill you will make you stronger.” At least that is how it works out in the storybooks.

Believe it or not I was thinking about this proverb knee-deep in my front yard grass. You see I was going to mow a few days before, but it started raining so I was unable to. Because I was unable to mow of course my grass grew taller and taller and taller. I always imagine my neighbors talking, the city fathers (and mothers!) contemplating giving me a visit, and/or my HOA giving me a loving but threatening letter – so that motivates me to chop my lawn down regularly. So, there I was at 3 p.m. a few days ago – chopping down wet grass with my little whack job.

I have grown out and not up in my more golden years. I do a lot of my work by sitting down and reading and staring at screens – and spend little time moving about unless it is behind my lawnmower. To top it all off, I have one of those cheap 20-inch jobs of a lawnmower. What I would really like is one of those zero-turn radius riding mowers that would cut my time on the lawn by half and by golly my lawn would look really sharp then! But alas I have to date received the spouse veto (she has no idea — she does not mow the lawn!), and no one loves me enough to get me a nice mower, so here I am. 

So there I was struggling with my 20-inch Walmart special, grass clogging up every 2 feet, with every bone aching along the way. That old proverb was ringing in my head, “…what does not kill you will make you stronger.” I wanted nothing else in that moment but to take that lawnmower and wrap it around whoever thought of that gem and make them into a lawn ornament.

Then I got a call. Someone needed me. Something was happening that needed my attention. I finished the front yard and sped off. You see I take my mission of ministry and helping others seriously. While I am not into mowing lawns (unless I have a great mower of course!), what I am into is listening and helping people and sharing the Gospel message that God loves us and desires a relationship with us through His Son Jesus. While it may be that “…what does not kill you will make you stronger” I do know that what gifts I have been given I am to use for the benefit of others. The words I follow in life tell me this: “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God”

Do you have a special gift? Then it just makes sense not to be selfish with it. Use it for others. Do you wish God’s special gift for yourself? He is only a prayer away. He will stop what He is doing, for you know what? It is all about you!

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