I was able to take an afternoon this week and do something I love to do — work in the yard. Yes, I love it. I cut low hanging branches from my mother’s pecan and cedar trees, got rid of weeds around the fence, and took off on the tractor mower to cut the grass.
After I cut the limbs from the trees, I began dragging them off, to pile them up to be burned. The task took longer than expected. I lost count after the tenth trip of going back and forth across the yard to the limb pile. It didn’t matter; the sun had slipped behind clouds, making the air more comfortable, so I trekked on in the enjoyment of my outside work.
However, after some time, I became aware of something uncomfortable. Immediately I knew what it was — a little piece of grit had found the inside of my shoe and was pricking my foot. It hurt just a bit. I shook my foot, knocking my shoe against the other one, in hopes of moving the unwanted object from beneath my foot. No, that didn’t work. I could still feel it, but it had moved so it didn’t hurt as bad. I walked on, gathering limbs, and taking them to the growing pile in the field near our house.
Back and forth I went with my tree limbs, taking care of a needed task to be done. The piece of grit in my shoe did not give up it’s own mission of making the walk difficult. Finally, after several trips, I stopped, took off my shoe, turned it over and gave a good shake, and out fell the piece of grit. It was so little but made it’s presence known in a big way. No one could have known by looking at me that I had a painful piece of grit in my shoe, and I certainly didn’t have to put up with it as long as I did, but I was busy. I was busy doing a good thing, so I ignored what was hurting me. It was only small.
As I walked on to finish my gathering of tree limbs, I noticed the immediate relief to my foot. Oh, how delightful it felt to walk unhindered. The thought then came — it’s the same in my spiritual walk. I can be doing something good for the love of Jesus or for the love of someone else. Then, somewhere along the way of doing good things, a little piece of transgression can slip into my shoe of walking in godliness. No one can tell. Perhaps it’s just a little misdeed. I can still walk on to complete the task at hand. But wait, someone can tell. My Father in heaven can tell, and I can tell, too. It’s then that I notice my joy level has subsided just a bit.
I stop then, remove my shoe and shake out the little piece of transgression. Oh, how delightful to walk unhindered. When we become aware of a transgression, no matter how little, let us not delay in shaking out our shoes, asking Father to “Create in me a clean heart, Oh God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 Then walk on as joy returns!