Monday, August 24, 2009

I Lost It Over the Dishwasher

Colossians 4:5 &6, NRSV, “Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time.  6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.”

I have had the opportunity to live this verse out SO MANY times in my life. I find that my interaction with people acts as a spiritual gauge. Upon saying that, let me tell you the story of my dishwasher.

My dishwasher broke while I had company in June. So, at this point it is no biggie. I have a home warranty, so I call them up and let them do what they do. It took them two weeks to show up.

Still no big deal, because I have hand washed dishes before. The first guy (that’s right, the first one) showed up and diagnosed the problem. Two weeks later he came back with the part.

Still, with a smile on my face, I greet him and welcome him in. I am thrilled that I will have my normal hands back after all of this soap and water. Small problem, though, he misdiagnosed it. He came back the next week.

Still, I am confident, and I am elated by this time because there are clean dishes in my future with no effort on my part. Oops, wrong again, a week later he was back.

I am starting to catch on to the real problem, as I walked into the kitchen and found him reading the manual on the floor. He did not know what was wrong but was eliminating problems one visit at a time.

Come to find out, this is a “no-no” in the world of home warranties, especially when one is not reporting all of their visits. So, I got a new team next time that started the whole process again.

So, there I am, asking if they need water or anything else to begin this process. They say no, but assure me that the other guy was completely incompetent and I was in safe hands, which was completely uncomfortable. They came back the next week.

Well, by this particular visit my home warranty had expired and I was in the process of signing up with a new company. So, when they told me that they had misdiagnosed it and they were going to come back to fix it, my mouth lay slack jawed for a moment.

Oh…but when I found my tongue, I had plenty to say. I told them about my home warranty and how the company would probably not love this situation and why. I knew that I was saying a lot but I was getting to the bottom of this problem. Let’s face it, total strangers love that.

I did not realize that I had lost all of my saltiness until much later. I was the equivalent of a horrible meal in which people were fighting for the salt shaker in order to bring something from cardboard.

Well, apparently, the door became the proverbial salt shaker because one of the team members bolted towards it, in an unfriendly way. I didn’t even realize that I sounded like a jerk until he left. Don’t you have to be yelling to sound like a jerk? I was just really excited. In my mind, I felt slightly better because they were sharing a bit of the last two months with me.

Guess what? They didn’t care, which only made me say more.

Truth be told, I could have shut my mouth. I was not wise by berating everyone with my problem, and I wasted everyone’s time without changing anything.

This verse says something really profound. I need to practice being gracious, being salty. I have to do this so that I will develop patterns in the way that I communicate. A great place to start is right at home. Every home can benefit with a little sodium.

Instead of losing myself in a 30 minute house call, I could have responded like I had the other six times. I could have said that I would see them the next time. Apparently, it was just one too many visits for the connection between my brain and tongue to remain quiet.

It is stewardship of the mouth. We have to make sure that we are diligent in seeking control of our tongues. The absence of lingual stewardship can change our days faster than anything else. Once my speech is gracious, not just sometimes, I can be trusted in all situations.

I wonder if there are situations with which God cannot trust me, because of my tongue. I have to wonder considering that I lost over a dishwasher.

Do you struggle with stewardship of the mouth? How do you handle it?

Father, you have told us exactly what our tongues can do. Please make us aware that we need to be salty for your sake, to draw people to you. Let us be slow to speak in our homes and in the world.

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