If you've got a house, you may complain every once in a while about the constant upkeep. It seems like as soon as you get one thing cared for, something else needs attention, the windows, the roof, the yard, the plumbing, the paint. Well, be glad you're not in charge of the maintenance of the Golden Gate Bridge. Not long ago I was standing by San Francisco Bay, admiring the impressive beauty of that great bridge, when someone told me what it takes to keep it impressive. Like 35 painters! Every day! That's all they do! The trucks roll out early every morning with another load of that distinctive orange paint and for eight hours a day those 35 painters are somewhere on that bridge, keeping it in good shape. Things deteriorate so fast, it takes constant effort to maintain the beauty.
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Rewards of Regular Maintenance."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Proverbs 27:23-24. It's about regular maintenance and the price of neglecting it. "Be sure you know the condition of your flocks; give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations." Those bridge painters would understand the spirit of that, if you don't take care of something beautiful, it won't stay beautiful.
Something like your marriage for example, or your relationship with your son or daughter, or with your spiritual brothers and sisters, or with your Lord. Actually, any important relationship. Things deteriorate so quickly, that's why you have to, as the Bible says, "give careful attention" to relationships and responsibilities that are in your care.
Some of us try to send the "paint crew" out for an occasional painting binge. But that won't do it. Daily agendas pile up, daily needs pile up, daily problems accumulate into unsolvable nightmares and bingeing won't be enough. The key word is regular maintenance!
That means telling people you love them on a regular basis. You don't do it like this, "I love you until further notice. If I ever change my mind, you'll be the first to know!" It doesn't work. It means regular communication, checking on how that person is doing and feeling. Regular listening, of course, is necessary because, like the weather, a person's situation changes regularly. And, like those Golden Gate Bridge warriors, there has to be regular fixing of breaks, misunderstandings. When the maintenance piles up, something that was beautiful can be lost, including your closeness to your Savior.
It may be that you've been neglecting Him lately. Your time with Him has gotten increasingly eroded, postponed, canceled. And the dark side of you is surfacing more and more the longer you neglect the beautifying that comes from regular time with Jesus. And what once was so warm and real between you is drifting into cold and official. Your most important relationship is like all the others, it deteriorates quickly if you don't take care of it regularly.
So is there someone in your life that is suffering from your neglect? Actually, you're suffering from that neglect, too, as the relationship that was so close becomes more strained and distant.
The good news, this is not irreversible. You need to determine that today will be a turning point day, where you take control of the pressures that are keeping you from a relationship, or a person that needs you and that you need.
Bridges and relationships have something in common. If you want them to stay beautiful, you have to take care of them. Regular maintenance that's the price for having something lasting, something beautiful.