Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mower than Expected

Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, since I know that you will do even more than what I say.  Phm 1:21

John Deere tractors are expensive to buy, beautiful to behold, fun to drive … and maybe sometimes hard to resell.  Last year Tanya and I purchased the D110, with a 42-inch cut, a double bagger, and a 19.5-horsepower engine.  We adapted the fence structure at our house so that we could reach both the front and the back parts of the yard.  With joy and pleasure, and attempted humility, I drove that baby up and down, back and forth, again and again.  I was a big kid with a new toy.

When the elders in Keller, Texas, invited us to work with God’s people there, we knew we had to make a tough decision.  Should we move?  There was another question, among many.  If we did go, what would we do with our almost-new John Deere?  After arriving in our new location, we realized we would either rent an apartment for awhile or buy a house with a much smaller yard than the one we had.  So it just made good sense to try to sell the riding mower.

Initial efforts accomplished little.  We set a fair price, below what the dealer would charge for a similar used model.  We asked our Alabama friends if they knew of any potential buyers.  We even listed the mower on Craigslist.  Nothing happened.  Of course, it was January, after all!

When March 1 came I posted the photo of the mower on a Facebook page called, “Shoals Sale Barn,” which is used for selling and buying items in that part of Alabama.  Next thing I knew, I heard from a fine young lady there who had been in a Bible class that I had taught years earlier at Mars Hill Bible School.  She said, “My mom needs that mower!  Consider it sold!”

Our former next-door neighbor in Florence took our mower from our garage, added some gas, cranked it up, and drove it to his garage.  The young lady sent a family friend to see the mower and take it away in his truck.  It was all done on the honor system.  No bill of sale was signed.  No money was exchanged.  However, she told us on Facebook that her mother would mail us a check.  I gave her our new address.

Well, today the check came, as promised.  Actually, it was “mower” than promised!  The figure on the check was $100 higher than our asking price!

Since when does that happen?  Aren’t we accustomed to the buyer negotiating for a lower price?  After all, “The mower’s not new.”  “What’s that scratch?”  “This seat is not the most comfortable.”  “What’s the very least you will take?”  We almost expect people to try to get by with the absolute minimum.  We may even act that way ourselves.

You know I was thrilled and thankful to get that check.  It also got me to thinking. 

God is in the “mower” business.  And I should be, too.

I should give people “mower” than they ask.  I should work and serve “mower” than expected.  I should go the second mile.  I should add value, as much as I possibly can, to people’s lives.  Isn’t that the greatest joy of all?  Isn’t it more blessed to give than to receive?

Lord, thank you for giving me “mower” than I could have asked or imagined.  Thank you for the cross, where Jesus paid enough to save me, not just for today, but for eternity.  Help me to become just like you … generous, compassionate, open-hearted, and open-handed.  Let me not settle for the least, but let me aim for the most and the best, as You have done for me.  Let me offer people the gospel, going beyond what I have ever done before.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.  2 Cor 8:3-5

Cory Collins

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