ONE LITTLE SCREW

Andy Hollifield 7-6-18
James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
The post today is one of my personal experiences that, when it occurred, the Lord instantly brought to my mind that I should write about it. Most of us have a little trouble telling stuff that makes us look stupid. I am no different. However, it is more important to be able to illustrate the gospel and maybe touch one lost soul, than to live with pride in my heart and have the shame of knowing I didn’t do all I could for Jesus who has done so much for me.
I had an experience over the last couple of weeks that finally came to a conclusion on Thursday. I have been having to work on practically every vehicle I own in the last 2 months and the last couple of weeks especially. Things always tend to break in mid June when my wife has just received here last paycheck of the school year and we are going into the 3 months of summer and drastically reduced income. This year has been no exception but I am thankful that it hasn’t been as burdensome as usual financially.
Since Mother’s Day, I have worked on my truck twice, Diane’s car twice and waiting on parts for the third repair, adjusted brakes on the ministry van and got oil change, and also undertook a long needed repair replacing the clutch on my compact tractor. All of this has been going on along with some mission trips we have made recently. Needless to say, I have been busy. I didn’t tell you all of this for sympathy, but I wanted you to have a little background so you can understand why this story is such a big deal.
I want to focus on my tractor repair. I ordered the clutch and began to break my tractor in half to install it. I had never done anything like this before and I will be the first to admit I am no mechanic but You Tube repair videos can make a respectable shade tree mechanic out of almost anybody. To begin with, the clutch and pressure plate I received were fine but the throw-out bearing was a little bigger than the one I had. After some checking I found out it was just a little more heavy-duty. After installing it, I started putting the tractor back together. By this time, I was coming up within a few days of my free 30 day return policy. Let me say that if you have never prayed over a vehicle, it is only because you have never worked on one. I am a firm believer that if something is big enough to bother you, it is big enough to bother God with. Of course it is no bother to him. Anyway, after I got it back together, I had to try it out and thankfully it worked. I went and hooked up my box blade to smooth out my driveway. After getting it on, the tractor would not raise it up. I unhooked it and pulled the tractor back under the shed and started trying to figure out what was wrong. The videos weren’t much help on this problem but from them and friends I found out that I likely had air in my hydraulic lines. Keep in mind that this has all occurred over several days so my stress level was already pretty high. I could get the lift to raise but only after bleeding the line coming into it. It would raise and lower several times but then it wouldn’t raise. When I bled the line I could hear it spitting air and see the bubbles but didn’t know where they could possibly be coming from. I retraced the hydraulic lines again and found no fluid so I took another look at the pump. I had checked it before but this time I was using a flashlight and saw it was shiny. I touched it on the bottom and it was wet. I have never been so thankful to find a fluid leak in my life. It wasn’t bad enough to even drip but just enough to let air in the system.
Now that I knew the problem, or I least I was praying that was it, I started taking parts back off to get to the pump. As I checked the bottom of the pump, I felt a screw hole. I was missing one little screw. I remembered that I had found one a couple of days before like the ones that were in it. I though that was strange because I had put back in all I had and didn’t realize I had dropped one. Had I checked right when I found it, I wouldn’t be writing about it now. I found the screw and put it in the empty hole and tightened it down praying all the while that it was the problem. As soon as I got it in, I had prayer before I tried it. It still didn’t work. I had to bleed the line again and that did the trick. I could no longer hear fluid or see air bubbles. The lift raised up and down like a new one. Needless to say I was thanking God with every breath. With the problems I’ve had with my hip, knees, and shoulders, getting up and down and standing bent over working had been pretty rough and now it was finally over. As soon as I got all the other parts put back on, I hooked my blade and knocked the ruts down in the driveway.
This story may not excite you much but you weren’t the one worrying with it for the past several days burning up, sweating, and getting all greasy and dirty. Before I even had the tractor back together, I began to think about how that little 1 1/4 in screw that was about as big around as an ink pen refill, had caused that whole tractor to be almost worthless. I could have still drug stuff around with it, but without the lift that was all I could do. I related that to our lives as Christians. You can do all the good works you want to but then when you commit one sin it breaks your fellowship with the Lord until you repent. I am talking about when the Holy Ghost convicts you of it. Until you get it resolved you are just going through the motions. Yes, you are still a Christian and you can still do most of the stuff you have always done, but you just won’t be effective. You can sing, preach, teach, or whatever you do but it just don’t have a touch of God on it. God can still use you to be a blessing, just as he had used Jonah in Nineveh. Jonah had been bitter even after he had preached one service where 120,000 souls made things right with the Lord by repenting in sackcloth and ashes. In his case, that one little bit of bitterness in his heart kept him from enjoying what God had just used him to accomplish. In my case, that one little screw missing allowed just a tiny bit of air in the line and therefore didn’t have the pressure it needed to operate properly. When we let anger or a root of bitterness or just any little sin into our lives, we don’t have the power we need to operate properly. I have heard it said that staying bitter, angry, hurt, mad, or any ill feeling or unrepented sin; is like drinking poison and expecting it to make the other person sick. The only person those things really hurt is the one harboring the feelings or holding a grudge. In Matthew 5:22-26 Jesus talks about reconciling with your brother if you have been angry with him or he with you. He said to reconcile even before you pray.
It didn’t take much air to make that tractor lift inoperable. It doesn’t take much sin to render us useless as Christians. Bitterness over all he had been through was what made Jonah so angry when he sat and waited for God’s judgment that never came because all of the people had repented. In 2 Samuel 11 it only took one lack of duty staying home when he should have been with his army, one trip to the rooftop, and just one little look at Bathsheba to start a downward spiral in his life that wrecked his family for years to come. Not much, just one little glance and his life was forever changed. One little sin that nobody knew about left him useless and guilty. One little screw missing, allowing in just a tiny bit of air rendered my tractor pretty much useless. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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