This has been a tough winter. My hometown had the snowiest February on record, and February is typically very snowy. We had way more this year; ridiculous amounts of snow. The snowbanks on the sides of the road were higher than our van.
This level of snow can be dangerous. Roofs around us have been collapsing for several weeks as the weight of snow piles up. One snowflake too many and roofs give way.
Shoveling roofs is not much fun. I have done it several times over the years and came away injured every time. I don’t know what it is, but I always pull, strain, or irritate something in my body.
My wife asked me if I was going to shovel our roof. I began whining immediately. I compromised and shoveled over the important parts of the house. I called it “good enough” and decided to take a chance on the rest. Kids don’t need bedrooms anyway, as long as I have one, and a kitchen.
My wife does not nag. She does not carry on guilting and cajoling. Instead my wife dropped facts into my life. “Did you hear that the building at the lumber yard collapsed?” No, no I had not. Interesting. But I don’t live in a lumber yard.
Several days later she said, “Did you hear that the roof on Burger King fell in?” Nope, but even if so, that is why I don’t live in Burger King.
“One of my co-workers had their garage cave-In. It totaled both their cars.” Bummer, the one area I called “good enough” and didn’t shovel was the garage.
“Alright, fine.” I said and took my son out to shovel off the rest. Yes, I’m still in pain, but we also have a roof over our heads.
My wife’s approach to addressing her worries was effective and a good illustration of how we ought to present the Gospel.
Too often the church resorts to scare tactics and dramatic appeals. These have their place from time to time. As Paul said, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:11). There are massively fearful elements of rejecting the Gospel that should be brought up, but freaking people out and sensationalizing threats is not helpful.
We flip the other way then and make the Gospel happy and entertaining and entirely unrealistic. Yes, joy and hope and good things are attached to the Gospel. As Paul said, “We joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:11). But promising nothing but happiness in life because of the Gospel is not real.
My wife didn’t say that the roof would cave in if I didn’t get out there because she didn’t know that it would. She also didn’t say everything would be fine, so who cares?! Instead, she gathered facts and calmly presented them.
This faithful, calm approach achieved her goal. The roof is shoveled and the threat has been removed.
It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). This is the time where we are to wake up and get ready (Romans 13:11). I don’t know what tomorrow holds so I can’t make any dire threats or any over-hyped happy promises. I don’t know what tomorrow brings.
What I do know is that a judgment is coming and now is the time to get ready. Faithfully warn people about the facts after you’ve dealt with those facts yourself.
My wife just told me about a house in town that flooded the whole basement into the main floor. So I guess I should go monitor my basement due to massive piles of snow piled by my house’s foundation.
Pray for opportunities to share Gospel facts with those around us.
Pray for discernment in deciding what to do day by day in light of the Gospel and coming judgment.
Pray for wisdom for God’s people in dealing with real threats in this world in a way that shows love and grace.