Before I was married I was asked if I wanted to house-sit for an older couple who was going on vacation. They didn't want to leave their house unattended, so they asked me if I would be interested in staying there. It would not cost me any rent; I could eat any and all of their food that I wanted; I could watch all the TV I wanted (after I got off work). What an opportunity! It would be a help to them, and a change for me! "Sure, I'll watch your house while you're gone," I told them.
They were due home sometime Saturday. As remote as their place was, I figured it would probably be in the afternoon on Saturday. Therefore, Saturday was the target date. All week long I could allow the house to get messier and messier; the pile of dirty dishes grow higher and higher. My plan was to just enjoy life, and then clean like crazy on Friday evening, with Saturday morning being the "buffer time" I might need to complete the huge project that I had spent all week creating for myself.
To my shame I admit that I am a cronic procrastinator. It is something I have battled with all my life. I've been always meaning to work on overcoming that great flaw in my character, but I've just never gotten around to it. Maybe someday!
I should mention that during the week the glass shelf in the refrigerator got broke. I don't remember exactly how it happened, other than it did. It really opened up the refrigerator to maneuver around in; the only thing was there weren't as many places to sit things. Because it happened earlier in the week, I had time to come up with some explanation - hopefully one that would make the woman glad for the extra open space.
I remember, it was Friday evening. I had just finished my supper and had settled down on the couch to watch the evening news. After that I would begin the monumental task of getting the house somewhat back to the way it was when I first arrived - that is, except for the refrigerator shelf. (I still hadn't come up with an explanation that sounded acceptable to ME, let alone the woman to whom the refrigerator belonged.)
It was the time of year when darkness came early. I was watching the TV news when I noticed a pair of automobile headlights pull in the end of the driveway. A sickening feeling came to the pit of my stomach, quickly rising to a state of panic. Their driveway was a long one, but it wasn't nearly long enough for me to do anything but bang my head against the wall and cry out, "No! No! No!"
I prayed like I hadn't prayed in a long, long time. God didn't answer - at least the way I'd hoped He would. I prayed that either: (1) It wasn't them; it was. (2) Somehow a cleaning miracle would take place; it didn't. or (3) That I would suddenly die. Not one of the three things I prayed for happened.
I went out to welcome the couple, as they pulled their suitcases out of the trunk. They were very pleasant; they'd had a good vacation --- up till now. The joyous talk of their trip came to an abrupt end when they passed through the door. From that moment on, the only words that couple spoke to me came from the woman when, with intensity in her voice she asked, "What happened to my refrigerator shelf?"
The man continued to bring their things in from the car while the woman took her coat off and went to the sink to wash my dishes. I could tell by their countenance that they weren't interested in chit-chat. Actually, it didn't appear that they were much interested in my presence at all anymore. I very awkwardly went into the living room, straightened up a few things, collected my clothes from their bedroom, and left.
How utterly ashamed I felt! How humiliated I was by my failure! They had entrusted their home and its care into my hands, and I had let them down. O, how I had let them down! It might have been better for them to have put a sign at the end of their driveway announcing, "We are gone on vacation; the house is unoccupied," than to have asked me to "house-sit."
What a lesson I learned in all of this, however. My Lord Jesus Christ has gone to heaven; but His promise is: "I will come again." I am to "occupy" until He comes. I am to faithfully serve Him and His people while He's gone and I am here. When He comes again at that hour no one knows; or when I go to meet Him through the doorway of death, will I hear Him say to me, "Well done, good and faithful servant"? Or, will I hang my head in shame because of how I have wasted time; lived for self; or been unfaithful regarding the use of that which He has entrusted into my care?