What northerners know about clearing snow...

When Mary Lee and I were first married, along with a couple other odd jobs I served as custodian of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Madison (no, we didn't attend). This meant clearing the snow from the walkways and sidewalks after every snowfall. Covenant sits on a corner lot and has very long sidewalks.

Those winters were some of the harshest on record in Wisconsin... so I quickly learned that the time to clear the snow is right away, before anyone walks on it. The dummies who wait are left doing what this man does a good job describing and warning against.

Which is why my own driveway is loaded down with thick ice right now.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.



Before we went out of town last weekend I was clearing the driveway to avoid just this thing. The snow was thick, but our driveway slopes downhill and it didn't take too long. I was just in position to congratulate myself on finishing well within my time limit so that we could leave and get to Cincinnati in plenty of time for the baby shower.

Then I happened to think about the elderly lady next door. Did her driveway need shoveling? Surely not! Our neighbor behind us has his plower plow her driveway too.

But it had snowed another inch or two.

She'll be fine!

But it would only take a few minutes.

I went over and did her driveway. I came halfway to getting away unseen, but Mrs. Conner found me and thanked me far beyond what I deserved. Even unbelievers are often good neighbors.

With my good deed firmly out of the way, I headed back to the van. At least now I could feel good about myself...

But what about Mr. Duke, the 65-year-old man on the other side of us, not as strong as he used to be and taking care of his mother?

65 isn't old! Wouldn't my parents be offended if I considered 65 old? He's perfectly capable of doing his driveway. It would be an insult for me to "help" him. I should mind my own business.

But I wonder if he really should be shoveling snow? Am I going to just go away and leave them possibly shut in? (Turns out he shouldn't be shoveling but was going to anyway, seeing no alternative.)

I went over there. The Dukes' driveway is short and well-paved. This would be easy.

While I worked, though, I ran the calculations (shoveling is a great time for thinking). Long-term calculations: by helping now am I setting a new tradition? Do I always have to do this now? What am I getting myself into?  Short-term calculations: what if I just shovel out half his driveway. Wouldn't that be a great help? I'm sure they would be so thankful to have half their driveway shoveled out.

But then I heard a voice saying, AS! AS!

I knew what that meant: "Do unto others AS you would have them do unto you." Not "Do unto others half of what you would have them do unto you." And I thought, rats, why did I shovel my whole driveway? If I had just shoveled half my driveway instead of the whole thing, I would have saved myself work over here! And then I thought, say, my driveway is twice as long as Mr. Duke's, and I didn't do the back part of my driveway behind the house, maybe I really did just do half of my driveway!

And then I thought how amazing it is that God loves a sorry wretch of a hypocrite like me. And I repented. And I gladly finished my neighbor's driveway and sidewalk, singing as I went.

Next time I'm going to get to bed early enough that I can get up early enough that I can care for my neighbors without worrying my wife about getting to our out of town engagement on time.

Thank God for opportunities to love a neighbor, and thank God that by His grace alone I didn't miss this one.


...and thanked me far beyond what I deserved. Even unbelievers are often good neighbors

(I don't mean to call Mrs. Conner an unbeliever. I was trying to show how small of a good deed it was, since even unbelievers are often good neighbors)

I dont know what it is about northen people but we just seem to deal with snow better, especially for the people like me in the UK but I suppose thats because we live in the colde rpart of the country.



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