And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Matthew 5:30 NIV
I work for the Department of Transportation. In the days before Hurricane Florence approached, the decision was made to contract people to clear away the expected downed trees blocking the roadways as a result of the storm. The contracts were known simply as “Cut and Shove.”
The one line item or task on the contract was for trees that were blocking the roads to be cut and then shoved out of the roadway. The debris would be cleared up later after the storm was over and roads were cleared as much as possible.
The phrase stuck in my head. I started thinking about how often we have to cut and shove our way through the storms we have in our lives.
Depending on the type of storm we are in, we may feel like we are concentrating on doing only what is absolutely necessary to survive. A lot of things are sidelined and left to be handled at a later time.
I remember when my Dad was so sick and in the hospital and every day was spent with him. Many other responsibilities were set aside.
As my husband and I assist his Mom who has dementia with her daily needs, our plans often get put aside at the last minute. When I was struggling in the depths of depression, I went through the motions of living, but many issues needing addressing were pushed aside.
But eventually, all of those responsibilities, all of those undone tasks, all of those suppressed issues, have to be dealt with like a large pile of debris. And it can feel overwhelming.
So what to do? Start cleaning.
All of the piled up trees, mud and trash left behind from the storm has to be cleaned up. And it starts by picking up one limb at a time.
All of the undone tasks gets resolved by completing one at a time. All of the suppressed issues get handled one at a time.
And all of the sin-trash in our lives gets forgiveness with one prayer of confession and repentance at a time.
But there is also a positive side to cut and shove. When a tree is lying across a roadway, the road is impassable. Obviously, cutting the tree and shoving it to the side opens the road for travel.
Sometimes we need to cut away things in our lives that are hindering us on our path of righteousness. Christ even said that if our hand or eye was causing us to stumble, to cut it off or pluck it out.
In other words, if we are in a situation where we are vulnerable to temptation, get out of that situation. Remove the temptation, shove it to the side and continue forward.
Storms are unavoidable. Sometimes temptations come along when we least expect it. So whether we are having to cut our way through storms or shove aside opportunities to sin, there’s hope. The storm will end and we can move freely forward again.
Did I mention the payment process?
The people being hired by DOT receive payment for the hours they work. When their job is complete and an inspector verifies they fulfilled their contract, they receive what they earned.
As believers, when our work here is done, Christ’s verifies our name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and we will receive our reward.
We’ll be cut free from this world and not shoved, but ushered into heaven. I like that phrase better. Cut Free and Ushered In!
Heavenly Father, I love You. And although I know storms are going to come, I trust You to guide me. Please cut away the things in my life that are keeping me from moving forward with You. Help me to stay close to You when the road before me is clear and even closer when it’s not. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.