Eternal Life and Disposable Society

My washing machine broke.  This had me spinning because it was less than three years old.  In fact, that was the problem.  The machine would fill, suds, rinse, and then, instead of spinning, it would make a few demonic sounds, stop abruptly, and flash an error signal with an incessant ping that required me to stop whatever I was doing and unplug the machine.

Of course, it wasn’t the only thing that became unplugged because I was left to deal with 50 pounds of soaking wet clothes and piles of unwashed laundry. Worse, was the feeling that I had been betrayed by this costly machine which promised to turn shmuck into shine.

Long story longer, I spent 60 bucks for a repairman to tell me that it was a computer malfunction and I should just buy a new washing machine because none of them work for more than a few years and repairs are too expensive to justify.  By this time, I was fantasizing about checking myself into a mental health facility.  I figured they could do the laundry and make my meals while I take a long nap. Then maybe if I am up to it, I would play a game of Parcheesi with another guest.

My husband suggested a simpler (although less satisfying) solution and off we went to buy another washing machine.  When I told the appliance salesperson about my trauma — figuring he was the next best thing to a trained mental health professional — he shrugged and said, “we live in a disposable society.”

That’s just it, isn’t it?  We live in a world which is fleeting, temporary, and transitory.  We like things quick and convenient to accommodate our speedy lives that resemble the fast forward button we once used on our VCRs before they became obsolete.  We put our faith in machines, men, and metrics, and when they fail we feel cheated.

All the while, we have a God who is everlasting.  He doesn’t break down but can pick up the pieces when we do.  He isn’t temporal but eternal.  If we are willing to buy into his commandment – to love him above all and love our neighbor as ourselves – we too can move beyond the disposable world we live in into the eternal.  His commandment is so simple and beautiful and pays way more than it costs.

Like an overzealous salesperson, I might have gotten carried away with the last sentence.  Because really, it isn’t always simple to follow his commandment.  It requires sacrifice, obedience, and selflessness, all of which can be a hard sell when competing against the deities of the disposable.  The messages of here and now can be consuming, carrying a sense of self-inflated significance which distract us from the everlasting.

When we focus on the busyness of better, next, and more, we forget to consider what is and always will be – a God whose love and providence is unconditional, unending, and unsolicited. The free will clause in the contract means God isn’t going to compete.  He isn’t going to force us to buy into something we don’t want.  In a world where the customer is king, God wants us to choose for ourselves whether he will be our king.

It’s a choice we make daily when we love and serve others.  It’s a choice which leads to everlasting life.  “My father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you I was going to prepare a place for you?” (NIV John 14:2) Certainly, that place will be worth any temporal sacrifice we have to make to get there.  Besides, there is no laundry in heaven.

I wrote this a few months ago, so when a dear friend told me about her broken washer this weekend I decided it was time to post! Support group forming soon. In the meantime, isn’t it wonderful thinking of all that awaits us?

Read last week’s post.

10 thoughts on “Eternal Life and Disposable Society

  • February 21, 2019 at 6:31 pm
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    Hi Mercy Matters friends! I’m honored to be the inspiration for the re-post! I am with no sarcasm delighted to finally make the blog! Confession:I have secretly been hoping I would one day “make the blog!” I Love your writing and truly know the Holy Spirit is working through you in this awesome endeavour. FYI…as I have been carting 6 people’s laundry around town to my friend’s homes, I have been once again reminded that the good Lord will always provide for me. Every Single Time! I also realized that losing a washer has given me the gift of time to sit and catch up with my sweet friends. Looking forward to your next post!

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    • February 22, 2019 at 4:36 pm
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      What a perfect way to look at it Emily! There are gifts in everything – if we just look (or be still enough to wait for a load to dry!) I also love thinking about how God provides for us. It’s so easy to get caught up in the scarcity of not having enough, being enough, doing enough and with God — he is ENOUGH! And through him we are ENOUGH! Makes me happy enough to go do my own laundry!

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  • February 20, 2019 at 3:00 am
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    When things get too busy and the demands on my time seem to multiply exponentially, I email a dear friend that I’m seriously considering “heading to the state line and going to Nova Scotia where they still have morning milk delivery routes.” Seems a lovely thought at those times and comes from the excellent Jan Karon “Mitford” books about the life and times of Fr. Tim Kavanagh, the delightful Episcopal Rector of The Lord’s Chapel in fictional Mitford, NC, who often fantasizes about jumping through the window and making for that state line!

    Thank you for your posts.

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    • February 21, 2019 at 12:38 am
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      Charlene what sweet imagery that invokes! When I want to check out from “modern civilization” I say I am going to move to the farm. It’s funnier to think that farm life would be harder physically but so much easier mentally! Wherever you go, I hope you will keep reading!

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  • February 20, 2019 at 2:11 am
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    I enjoy your messages!

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    • February 21, 2019 at 12:35 am
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      Thank you, Bill! I should have you do a guest post on prison ministry!

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  • February 19, 2019 at 2:19 pm
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    Once again, you do not disappoint. I enjoy your posts. I also wonder what brand of washing machine that was. I am in need of a new one as well.

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    • February 20, 2019 at 12:44 am
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      Thank you, Ellen! The that broke was a cabrio by Whirlpool. I was seriously kind of shocked how the salespeople weren’t surprised that it broke. They said its like that with a lot of appliances now. At the advice of a friend, I bought the Speed Queen which is a commercial washer. It basically looks like washing machines used to look. I didn’t want any electronics because they are too costly to repair. This is all mechanical. There are no bells and whistles but its a workhorse and I love it. Honestly, I would either do a Speed Queen or I would buy the least expensive washer you can get because I think long gone are the days that anything is built to last. (Which is funny of me to say because I bought the Speed Queen because supposedly it is built to last. So I guess I just I have that mentality.) I think this is the longest comment I have ever written. Wondering if I should blog about appliances next!

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  • February 19, 2019 at 1:41 pm
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    “Fantasizing about checking myself in to a mental health facility!” Haha! It’s definitely easy to lose sight of the eternal nature of God in our speedy culture! Nice reminder!

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    • February 20, 2019 at 12:32 am
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      Thank you, Anne. I know I should shoot for a day at the spa instead of the mental health facility but sometimes you have to take what you can get! 🙂 So good to hear from you!

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