The Right Moment

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Years ago our family lived on a street in which adjoining houses sat on properties that were roughly equal in size. 

This created a substantial temptation for the males on that street. 

OK, it created a potential issue for me

It turns out that it was possible for neighbors to race each other while mowing the grass.  I mean, why settle for some healthy outdoor exercise when you can turn it into a pointless, all-consuming competition?

One day when I was mowing at the same time as my neighbor – and I hasten to point out, I was winning – my young son Mark came out with his plastic lawn mower so he could work hard with his dad. 

He was pushing one of those Fisher Price specials comprised of exactly two pieces – a handle and a base.  As I mowed faster and faster across my backyard, he struggled to keep up with me.  Suddenly I noticed that he was no longer moving, but was motioning in a tiny way with his hand for me to come towards him. 

Impatiently I turned off the mower and came alongside.  “Yes, honey, what is it?” I asked.  That’s when I noticed he was holding the plastic handle in one hand and the base in the other. 

“Daddy,” he asked humbly, “could you fix this for me?”

I cannot tell you how many times I have replayed that little scene in my mind. 

For reasons I can’t quite explain, it has been an immeasurably helpful reminder:  I must slow down so I can hear my own children.  And now, the children of my children. 

Years ago, one of my co-workers told me she had married right out of high school.  She and her husband were blessed to have a little girl.  She worked hard to earn her college degree, to be a great mom, and to keep all the balls in the air.   

But then her world came undone.  Her little girl died at the age of five.  During the funeral she read her daughter a book.  Then she looked into the faces of those who had gathered and said, “Please don’t ever tell your kids you’re too busy.” 

2 Corinthians 6:2 cites this promise of God:  “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.  I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” 

Followers of Jesus appropriately quote that verse to indicate the urgency of spiritual decision-making.  But at a broader level it reminds us of something else:  This moment is always the right moment to do the right thing.    

On that day in my backyard I was able to fix Mark’s lawnmower.  But as the years passed it quickly became clear that his problems were going to go way beyond my capacity to solve. 

One of the great privileges of parenting is to point our kids to the true Problem Solver. 

Even when it seems that the most important things in their lives have come apart, and all is lost, they can turn to a Father who is never too busy to listen to them, and pray, “Daddy, could you fix this for me?” 

Our job, as earthly parents, is to take the time – to make the time – to assure them that they are always in the presence of such a Father. 

And to remember that this moment is always the right moment to do the right thing.