The steering wheel of my riding mower was smashed last week when I:
a) Mowed the lawn while texting.
b) Hooked a chain to the steering wheel to pull a dead tree stump out of the ground.
c) Became entangled with my children’s swing set and flipped the mower upside down.
The embarrassing answer became a new entry for Our Daily Journey, which I post below. One positive from this experience is that I now know I have no fear of death. I remained calm while the accident was happening and after righting the mower and changing its oil and air filter, I put the cutting deck back on and finished cutting the lawn. So apparently I’m ready to go.
One negative is that I’ve been telling my son all summer that it’s time for him to begin mowing the lawn. He said he is too afraid and I told him there is nothing to worry about. Now it seems he has won the argument.
The other negative is that I’ve lost the moral high ground with my wife. She has a free pass to make any mistake she wants. She could run the air conditioning with all the windows open, put a humidifier and a dehumidifier in the basement just to see who wins, or bring home only the front half of a buy one/get one free offer. If I protest, all she has to do is raise an eyebrow and ask me about The Incident. I’m not sure what the statute of limitations are for these things, but I’m about to find out.
read > 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall (v. 12).
I didn’t stop to throw the swings over the crossbar. My wife would have, and for good reason. Last month she popped a wheelie when a swing hooked the bottom of our riding mower and lifted the front tires off the ground. I couldn’t believe she had been so careless, and I hoped she had learned her lesson. Her scare reminded me to slow down to first gear as I maneuvered around the swing on my left, but I didn’t see the one on the right that caught. The mower reared up on its hind wheels then tipped backwards. I hit the ground and rolled out of the way, stood up and stared in disbelief. I had flipped my riding mower, which now lay upside down on its crushed steering wheel.
My wife couldn’t believe I had been so dumb. After what had happened to her, how could I have been so careless? But that was the problem. It had happened to her, a rookie driver. I had mowed my lawn for eight years without incident—I didn’t even know it was possible to flip a riding mower on level ground—and I didn’t believe it could happen to me. And so I fell, embarrassingly and dangerously hard.
I didn’t learn from my wife’s example, but Paul says I must learn from the Israelites’. Their stories of disobedience “were written down to warn us” not to “crave evil things as they did, or worship idols,” or “engage in sexual immorality,” or “put Christ to the test,” or “grumble as some of them did” (1 Corinthians 10:6-11). We are worse the moment we suppose we’re better, for we become sloppy when we think we’ll never fall.
If “pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18), then we must fear our strengths. What sin are you sure you would never commit? Look out! You’ve just let down your guard.