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I was recently asked by a small church to preach a sermon imparting some words of wisdom to a young man who was graduating High School. This is a condensed version of that sermon. (I have changed the graduate’s name for obvious reasons.)


Good morning, Dan. They have asked me to preach a special sermon just for you. The leadership of the church has asked me to look back on my 65 years of life, dig deep into the wisdom and grace that’s come from living a full life and studying my Bible and impart to you the most learned and beneficial wisdom I possibly can.


Now, I’ve been pondering on this every day for a whole week, Dan, so I want you to know this special wisdom is not something I just came up with last night.  I’ve thought hard and deep about this. 


Okay, so… Ready? 


Get yourself a package of hose washers. Yup, just like these. (I hold up a package of hose washers.) And when you get these hose washers, you put a nail in the wall inside your garage and you hang that package of hose washers right next to the button that runs the door up and down.


What? Yes, I know you don’t have a button or a garage right now. 


But you will someday. And you’re going to want those hose washers because someday, you’re gonna hook up the garden house and it’s gonna leak. It’ll leak because the old hose washer inside there has gotten all dry and hard and it’s not gonna seal like it should and it’s gonna leak all over the place. And it’ll probably spray out of there with that icy-cold hose water right at the part of your pants with the zipper, embarrassing and frustrating you.


So, you’re going to trying twisting that hose a little tighter (without thinking to shut the hose off first because, well, that’s human nature) and your pants and now your shoes are gonna get wet, so you’ll stomp off after a couple of minutes of that after angrily trying to tighten it and finally shut the valve. Then you’ll dig around in your toolbox and you’ll show that garden hose a thing or two cuz you’ll find those big old channel-lock pliers you knew you had somewhere and you’ll tighten that garden hose so tight it’ll never leak!


Of course, the pliers will slip on one or two occasions and you will end up with at least one bloody knuckle, which will leave a bloody stain across the front of your shirt, making it look like you temporarily turned into a crazed, axe-wielding, homicidal maniac.


Then, you’ll go back in the house and your beautiful and lovely and caring wife will kindly and gently inquire about the grumbling, stomping, bloody-knuckle attitude you’ve developed… and the blood all over your shirt…and the wet spot in the front of your pants.


And then you will say something to your beloved wife on the order of,  “What have I been doing? I’ll TELL you what I’ve been doing! I just spent 45 minutes fighting with that stupid hose so YOU can water your STUPID PETUNIAS!!!”


And you will sleep on the couch that night. 


With a throbbing knuckle to keep you company.


The only thing is, you will have mangled the end of the garden hose so bad, (and it’ll still leak a little bit all summer long —just not enough to change your mind that you fixed it) now rust will creep into the threads and come October, when you need to get the hose off to drain the water out of it so it doesn’t freeze inside there and burst the hose, the ONLY way you’re gonna get that hose off is with the very best Vice Grips you have but not before tearing up the metal real, real good.


THEN, come the next spring, you’re gonna go to hook up that same hose, look at the mangled, rusty, nasty hose end and remember all the pain and agony and frustration you went through the previous year. 


So, now you’ll drive all the way to the hardware store and you might spend as much as fifty bucks on a brand new, fancy garden hose so your lovely and caring wife can keep her cherished petunias alive. 


Dan, a pack of hose washers like this cost one dollar and there are ten in the package. That means they cost ten cents each. 


See, the washers inside hoses get hard and stiff with time and they don’t seal anymore. So, when you tighten ‘em down, they either crack or break or bunch up and get stuck inside the hose. A pack of ten hose washers will probably last you a lifetime.


And here’s the deal: People are like hose washers. They are strong, but they’re also flexible. That’s called being “resilient.” But, most people, (myself included) can get hard and brittle after they’ve had some pressure put on them for a number of years. Sins like addiction and holding a grudge harden people too. 


They lose their resiliency. They can get hard and brittle and stuff that they used to be able to hold back starts leaking out of their souls and making life a mess for other people.


People can be strong, but if they are not resilient too, they break.


That’s where love comes in. 


Love is the thing that, when added to strength, makes us resilient and able to adapt and be flexible enough to work like God intended us to work together. Love is the thing that forgives you when you call your wife’s petunias stupid when you should have learned to love her enough to shut up when you should shut up and not to get so upset over a stupid hose.


So, Dan, get yourself a package of hose washers…. Well, you know what? You can have this package. I only paid a buck for ‘em.” And keep ‘em on a nail right where you can always find ‘em. Don’t hide ‘em in your toolbox or the junk drawer in the kitchen cuz you’ll never find ‘em when you need ‘em. You want them hanging there on that nail so you see them every day and they remind you that you have them and all this stuff I am telling you.


And keep your love right there by your heart, where you can always find it. Use it every day, not just on your lovely wife, but on everyone you meet to support and encourage and build them up, just like the Bible says. Jesus even added an extra commandment about this: John 13:34


So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. (NLT)


Never forget the love that was hanging by those nails on the cross. God Himself loved you enough to die for you, Dan, and for everyone else too. Don’t be stingy with that love, cuz it’s an even better deal than a package of hose washers.




(Photo by author. No copyright. If you need a picture of hose washers, you go right ahead and use it.)

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