Our beloved garbage disposal died. Its ability to pulverize eggshells came to a grinding halt. Since I have become a do-it-yourself aficionado, who better than I to crawl underneath the sink and make the repair? What could be more fun than to play with plumbing on a Saturday afternoon? Have no fear; Mr. Fix-it is here!

For me, there is no such thing as “a” trip to the hardware store. One good trip to the hardware store deserves another. I love tools, but my frequent trips down the tool aisle have more to do with poor planning than desire. Three trips for a new garbage unit and 14,000 plumbing parts was reasonable by my standards.

Finally, I had all I needed to get us back up and running. Not detoured by the label that warned, READ ME FIRST, I severed the shipping tape, tossed the packing peanuts aside, reached over the instruction booklet and went straight for the hardware. Instructions are for lightweights and hard to understand. Besides, they often come upside down, in 30 different languages and are written in broken English at best.

As I lay on my back, giving my abs a much needed workout, I experienced a great sense of accomplishment as I tightened the last nut. There would be no need to slop the swine at my house. We would continue to feed our leftovers to the humming-hog under our sink!

It wasn’t until the next day, after my wife lovingly informed me that the dishwasher was backed up, that I realized I had failed.

“Did you read the instructions?” my wife asked.

“Huh? It’s just a garbage disposal,” I expressed in defense.

“Did you remove the plug?” she inquired.

“Plug? What plug?” I protested.

“The one the instructions advised to remove,” she said.

“Uhh, I must have overlooked it,” I admitted. Another life lesson learned from down under.

How many times do we blow through life without taking time to consult instructions? In the first chapter of Joshua, Israel’s new leader is given a major tip for success. God says to Joshua, “Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”

God knew we would need all the help we could get to make it through life. That is why he gave us the Bible, His little Instruction Book on life. It took the children of Israel 40 years to learn their life lessons. When we crack open the Instruction Book on life, something tells me we will have fewer embarrassing moments and become less of a regular at the hardware store.