In Texas, we lived in a house that had a plumbing problem. No matter what, when we put down the drain, it always came back through the bathtub. We had our usual share of plunger issues and clogged sinks. This problem was much different. When the hard rains came, the city storm system was so inadequate, whatever was down there came back. In this city, the utility company solved the problem by creating a “pop off valve.” If the storm sewer or anything else backed up, the valve released the sewer into the back yard rather than the bathtub.
In life, as in plumbing, one thing always clogs our system. I call them the “shoulds.” They are the duties and expectations that we have or want others to perform. It usually comes out of our mouths like this:
“We should do more of …..”
“She shouldn’t be so….”
“I know I should be doing more of….”
“This should never have happened in the first place.”
Despite all the blessings of life, shoulds block our systems with negativity and complaints. We focus too much on small-minded issues rather than solutions. We think of things that “other people should do,” instead of working together to solve problems. We want our lives to somehow be just a little bit better and miss how good we really have it. We project onto others the expectations that we never really could have ever met ourselves.
The good and grace-ful news of the Thanksgiving season is that Jesus unclogs the shoulds. In John 7, Jesus offered a Way through life. Near the Gihon Spring, at the Pool of Siloam, Jesus celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles. It was a summer harvest festival akin to our Thanksgiving. He knew the people’s hearts were clogged with all kinds of duties that no one could have accomplished alone. He announced, “He who comes to me, out of him will flow rivers of living water.”
Jesus unclogged the system so that when the rains came, they could receive the blessings of the new seeds that were planted. This Thanksgiving, God will plant seeds into your hearts that will blossom again in the Spring. Prepare your heart. Should less. Trust Jesus more. You’ll be thankful for it.