Ink

Several months ago, I bought a new color laser jet printer for my office. I had been using an inkjet for a number of years, and also had a laserjet that printed in black ink, but I gave that printer up and just couldn’t make a decision about what to do. Anyway, I finally bought the color printer I needed for all the client training materials that I am developing. I am kind of a nut on quality and years ago I had top of the line equipment before I sold our staffing company. Since that time, I have used with a smaller, lower quality, printer and printed materials that were primarily internal documents – in other words, not for distribution.

When you buy a new printer these days, it comes with initial ink cartridges that are not full capacity cartridges and before too long, the toner needs to be changed. So it didn’t come as a surprise this past week-end, when I was preparing for my trip to St. Louis, that the printer stopped working and required a cartridge change. It was the first time I have had to do this with the new machine, but I figured it out and was back online in 15 minutes or so. No big deal, except…

Except that a decade ago, when I was deep in seminary, I had a similar experience and really couldn’t afford to buy new ink cartridges. Janet and I were supporting ourselves through my pre-marital counseling and custom wedding ceremonies. It was really tough to make ends meet and commercially printing flyers to place in wedding stores just wasn’t something we could afford. So I got this bright idea that I would print them myself. I bought several cartridges and soon found out that they didn’t last as long as I thought they would. So I had another bright idea – I would save the old cartridges, buy ink in bulk, and then re-fill my used ink containers.

It sounds quite a bit easier than it turned out to be. I was terrible at filling empty ink cartridges. I was easily frustrated and if you personally know me, you probably know that I am a pretty clean person. So having ink spill everywhere, staining my hands and work bench, didn’t sit very well with me. One day, I accidentally overfilled one of the cartridges and ink spilled on the floor of the garage – teal to be exact. I didn’t think too much about it, but when I was done with my project I reached down to wipe the ink off the floor – and it wouldn’t come off! I’m not kidding – it must have seeped into the concrete and nothing would take that ink off. I tried all kinds of solvents, even gasoline, and when all else failed, I used a wire brush – determined to get that ink spot off the floor.

In all honesty, it drove me nuts… but it was not be be. To this day, the stain is still there. And every time I am out in the garage I see that spot in the middle of the floor. To be sure, when I spilled the ink I was so angry that I threw out all the old cartridges and all the ink refill bottles. I vowed that I wouldn’t try to do my own refills anymore. Eventually, I had to stop printing brochures. The brides just weren’t picking them up and they were pretty expensive. So much for that idea…

Anyway, God has blessed our business and these days Janet and I are doing better than in my seminary days. Thankfully, we no longer have to live off custom wedding ceremonies and funerals. Please know how grateful I am that we can now afford to buy cartridges for the printer. As strange as that may sound, I don’t want you to think that I take anything for granted.

The bottom line is that to this day, each time I have to change an ink cartridge, I remember those days gone by and usually go out in the garage to stand over that stain. In an odd sort of way, it keeps me humble – a reminder of how tough those days were. Obviously, this past week-end I made the short trip to the garage.

The verse for tonight is from Psalm 18:27, “You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.” My encouragement this evening is that God blesses those who are humble while He holds disdain for those who are proud and full of themselves. My prayer is that you will demonstrate humility and honor God in the process. I have been on both sides during my life – and I’m here to affirm that God blesses those who demonstrate humility. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

 
 
 
 

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