Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lessons from the Water Faucet

I have been frustrated the past few days.  Though I've started out each morning with desire to make a difference by being more intentional about the things I did and said, at the end of each day I couldn't see much fruit.  Frankly, my New Year's resolution had begun to feel more like the finger of failure, pointing accusingly in my face.

This came to a head yesterday as I went to a shower for a neighbor.  I felt certain this would be a great chance for God to use me as I interacted with people from all walks of life, most of whom have no relationship with Him.  And though I kept asking Him for guidance, no doors seemed to open and as I left I felt like all I'd done was socialize with small talk.  So much for being intentional...

But as I went to bed exhausted from a very busy weekend, I remembered a story I heard a long time ago by an old preacher from the South named Ron Dunn.  We first heard this beloved man when we were in college, and though he has gone on to be with the Lord, his legacy lives on in my heart and many others.  So this morning I did an internet search and found a website with sermons, articles and other stuff.  I was amazed to find the story, and knew I needed to share it with you. Dunn wrote:

Until a few years ago I worried a great deal about whether or not I as a pastor was doing enough for the Lord. If I had one of those days of just answering letters and administrating, I would lie in bed at night saying, “Lord, I haven’t even witnessed to a single person today; I was so busy doing these little things.” There was always too much work to do, and I lived in a constant rush, giving hardly any time to my family.

But one day as I walked into the kitchen, I noticed that the water faucet was looking a bit discouraged. When I asked what the problem was, the water faucet said, “Well, I am really down because I know I have failed you today, master. I haven’t washed your hands once, I haven’t quenched your thirst once, I tried to turn myself on, but only squeezed out a few drops. I know that you are displeased with me.”

“Water faucet,” I said, “I have passed by you a hundred times today. If I had wanted you to quench my thirst or wash my hands, I would have turned you on. I don’t want you turning yourself on − you’ll just waste water and make a mess. You have been a pleasure to me today because you have been available. I don’t measure your faithfulness by how much water you pour out in a day. I measure your faithfulness by your availability.”

You know what? I can come to the end of a day now and say, “Lord, I didn’t do such and such today, but I was available, and if You had wanted to use me in that way, You could have.” It is such a peace, such a relief. I’ve come to that great discovery that no matter how hard I work, I will always be behind, so why worry? God is not my responsibility. I am His responsibility.
I  hope that encourages you -- it has me.  Though I am still going to press into being intentional with the Lord, I realize that the best way to do that is to simply be available.  The rest, I'm relieved to say, is up to Him.


  1. So encouraging Tricia. I go about trying to be
    so intentional to hear HIs voice and 'see' opportunities that it's like trying to blow-up a tight balloon that will just not let the air in-I end up frustrated and out of breath and it would be safe to say at that point,my heart's not right. Where I should be intentional in willingness and availability. The Lord is about His business and mine is to stop striving and come with willing heart. Sigh...relief and Grace. Thanks Tricia.

  2. Thanks, Tricia. That was really timely.

  3. Becoming intentional. becoming willing. Being aware. The Lord has been impressing these statement on my heart. The days when I feel like the water faucet that has not done its job are the days when I am not flexible and 'becoming', my energy becomes nervous energy that repels, not attracts. Becoming...willing...available...aware. Thanks Tricia, for your heart and obedience. The Lord speaks volumes through your beautiful voice.

  4. I don't know you. I live in Richmond, VA. The associate pastor's wife at my church, just finished taking the "Lord, Teach me to Pray" by Kay Arthur study I taught. She emailed me this blog to read - the entry on prayer. I read the prayer entry - intrigued about your book - but couldn't stop there. I read the next entry, and the next (I guess previous is more accurate).
    What a ministry!! What a fantastic writer! I hope your book is written just like your blog entries. Easy to read. Relational.
    I'll be teaching middle school girls in a few weeks, and plan to use the water faucet illustration and even the ziploc bag idea for them.
    Thanks for sharing your heart with "us".

  5. Trish, you are always so encouraging! Jessica had a link to your site on her blog. Thanks for "being available" to share yourself with us. Kim Ox

  6. Tricia, Thanks for the water faucet. I was feeling frustrated with an overloaded prayer list coupled with all life has to offer.

    As I contemplate Matthew and consider all Jesus did, I am amazed ... and breathless. The water faucet is wonderful imagery about availability. That's all God really wants from me, my willingness to respond, my desire to serve. He does not expect me to do anymore than He asks. In Him, kim