…and the last will be first

Many  of you who know me know that my father is my hero.  He has worked hard all of his life to support his family.  He also has a heart of gold, and is the single most humble person I know.

Recently, I was home in Lebanon, TN for the Christmas holidays.  While we were there, my mom wanted me to help her go pick up a new shop vac for my father for his birthday, which is on January 7.  We went and picked it up, and she decided to get one that actually holds dust bags as well, so that the fine particles won’t spread all over the place.  She happened to pick up the wrong size bag.

After my father opened up the vac, he was excited to use it, but he noticed that my mom had picked up the wrong size bag.  Since these bags are like $15 or so, he was going to go back to Home Depot to swap it out.  I went with him, because I jump at the rare opportunity to spend some one on one time with my dad.  We arrived, and stepped up to the return desk.  We waited for about 4 minutes, and no one was coming to help us.  I was starting to get impatient, but my father stood there calm as could be.  I told him that I was going to run back to where the bags were, and pick up the right one, so that when we were waited on we would have the item we needed.

I left and went back to aisle 13, picked up the bag for the larger size shop vacs, and returned back to where my father was.  However, now there were 6 people in front of my father, and he was at the end of the line.  I was puzzled.  I asked him what had happened.  He told me that they had moved people from another line that closed over to his line where he was waiting patiently.  I looked at him, and told him “You know, sometimes I think you’re too nice.”  He just smiled and waited patiently for his turn, seemingly not caring that he had to wait.  Sure, it probably frustrated him, but what good was it going to do?

Then I thought of those words that Jesus spoke in his parable of the workers in Matthew19 and  20 – so those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.

I think of all the times I’ve been impatient, glaring at someone in line for cutting in front of me, becoming impatient with a server at a restaurant, or someone who doesn’t go when the light turns green.  Looking at the positives of this situation, I got to spend a few more moments with my father, and I realize that even though I live 900 miles from him and see him one or two times a year, he continues to teach me.

My goal, for this year, is to be more patient.  I have a lot of situations in my life right now where I need to find more patience.  How will I achieve this?  I plan on reading Matthew 5-7 at least 3 times a week, and preferably more.  The words Jesus spoke in the sermon on the mount have a great ability to calm even the most wound up of people.


One comment on “…and the last will be first

  1. Your Dad is a great man and an inspiration to many. Tara and Richard still remember him as the best Bible teacher they’ve ever had. I only wish I could’ve had him as a teacher in the classroom.

    The prayer for patience is a good aim for the New Year. I think that’s something I need to work on, too.

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