Thursday, September 17, 2009

OnFire #198 Lessons from Painting and Roofing

OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #198 Lessons from Painting and Roofing

Hi Folks:

We had an interesting weekend. Jan had some chest pain so we took her to the emergency department. The ekg looked good, but they decided it was better to be cautious and wait for the cardiologist. So she spent the weekend in the hospital. Good news, her stress test was fine, so no heart issues. Now they will begin to track down what the issue may be.

We’re getting ready to put a new roof on the house. If you are in the area and want to help, we’ll start about 7:15 on Saturday morning.

Blessings as you finish the week.

We’ve been doing a few things to fix up the house. I’ve painted the wooden surfaces outside and we’re getting ready to put on a new roof.

Roofing and painting are interesting things. Neither one is very complicated and both have easy but important steps which are repeated over and over again until the job is done. Dip the brush and spread the paint. Dip the brush and spread the paint. Of course, the surfaces must be prepared properly and there are little tips and tricks which make the job easier, but mainly it involves faithfulness to the task. Little things over and over again.

Roofing is the same. Shingle by shingle the roof is nailed into place. Again, there are tips and tricks and essentials to be done properly, like flashing the chimney and capping the roof. But mainly there is a lot of faithfulness to the task.

Another thing about roofing or painting - it soon becomes obvious if we didn’t do the job well. I once painted a pine window ledge but didn’t bother to seal the knots. It looked fine for about a month, and then they began to show through the paint. I thought I could get away with it...

Like water dripping through the ceiling, the truth came out for Isaac and Rebekah in Genesis 26. It seems that when Isaac and his wife Rebekah moved into the area, they told people she was his sister so that no one would kill him. Rebekah was very beautiful and they were afraid that someone might murder him in order to take Rebekah. As a result, Isaac finds himself in conflict with Abimilech, king of the Phillistines.

Didn’t we read this somewhere else? Yes, two other times. Abraham and Sarah tried this scheme in Genesis 12 and then they tried it again with this same king Genesis 20. Abimilech must have shaken his head when he discovered that Isaac and Rebekah were married - "Here we go again!"

The source of this conflict was a simple little lie. We all know, of course, that lying is a bad thing. But even still, how many times are we tempted to cover things over with a little paint? The instinct is the same for us as it was for Abraham and Isaac. We want to protect ourselves. The words can slip out very quickly, especially if we are used to using them.

Just as Isaac was the source of his conflict, we can become the source of our own conflict. When we ignore some of the basic fundamentals of character and faithfulness, like honesty and integrity, we should not be surprised to find ourselves in disagreement or conflict. "I thought you said you were going to do that!" I think we’ve all heard that one before. What about this one: "But that’s not what you said."

A businessman lamented to me about how difficult it is to find good people. "How hard can it be," he asked, "to find someone to show up on time and do what they said they would do?" Harder than it should be.

There is good news here. We can reduce our level of conflict by being truthful. Not whitewash or cover it. Not blame someone else. Just like in paint and roofing, the truth is going to come out eventually, anyway. Faithfulness means doing little things, like telling the truth, over and over again.

I hope this helps. Be on fire.


OnFire is a weekly letter on faith and character by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published Sept 17, 2009. To subscribe or reply, email Archives are located at Blog located at

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