I Should Have Listened!

  • Pete Johnson
Woman burning money

This past weekend I was stirred out of bed early in the morning, around 5:00 am because it was extremely cold in my room. My first thought was that someone had opened a window and left it open or worse cause scenario, someone had left the front door open. But who leaves a window or door open during January in Alaska? I got out of bed to check anyway. No windows or doors open. I checked the thermostat it was not operating so I went to check the boiler and it was not doing what boilers are supposed to do, it was not on, there was no fire in the belly of the beast.

Not being familiar at all with gas-operated appliances, I was at a quandary of what to do. No one else is awake, it is just me and the furnace. (I write this with fear and trepidation because I am not comfortable with letting on that I don’t know something or there is something that I can’t handle.) Who do I call at 5:15 am on a Saturday morning? I really didn’t want to tell anyone I knew. I’m a grown man who has a gas furnace in my house, the only source of heat, I should know how to fix this. The house is getting colder, I follow the instructions on the furnace panel about relighting the pilot light to no avail, all the while I’m wondering if I am going to blow up the entire house. 45 minutes has elapsed, so I finally texted a friend at 5:57 am “You Up?”  My friend responds to my text with, “What’s Up?”. This is a friend that knows enough about almost everything to fix anything. Shocked that he was awake, I explained to him my situation, he states back that he is on his way over. Previously before texting him, I had contacted a local plumbing company, knowing full well the cost of weekend plumbing services, and was waiting on a response from the professional who was on call.

My friend arrives bringing with him two electric space heaters and some knowledge about gas furnaces. He attempts to relight the pilot light with no luck. “It is more than likely your thermocouple.” He says. “Well yeah maybe so.” I respond, (the guy who knows next to nothing about this appliance). “I’ve got an extra we can put on to make sure.” He graciously offers. “Well, the plumbing guy is coming over, maybe I’ll just let him look at it.” (He is a professional you know, that’s why I’ll shell out hundreds of dollars for him to come to my house on a Saturday morning!)

I thank my friend for coming over to help me out and for bringing the heaters. Finally, the professional arrives. He attempts to relight the pilot light, to no avail. He then repeats exactly what my friend told me the problem probably was “It is more than likely your thermocouple.” I didn’t really want to believe that. It must be something more than that! I’m paying a lot of money for this professional advice. “Your sure?” I asked. He responds, “Yea, it is usually always the issue.” Now it seems that I have an even bigger problem, how will I be able to admit that I had to pay out $400.00 to fix something that I could have fixed myself but didn’t know how. I even had the opportunity, with sound advice from a friend, to have remedied the problem. So less than the time it takes to have a pizza delivered, the problem was taken care of, but at a much higher price.

A bad thermocouple.  Just a small inexpensive part of the whole thing, yet that small piece caused the whole furnace to shut down, in turn, no heat, no hot water- all this happened while I was asleep.

I believe there are several applications that could be brought out from this little event. But what sticks most with me is the correlation between this incident and believers who simply refuse to address and tackle life’s problems such as marital issues, relationship issues, problems with our children, and the cornucopia of things that life throws at us, from a biblical perspective. “It can’t be me”, “It must be more than that”, “We need a professional”.

For some things in life, we do need a professional. But for many, we only need to regard the godly counsel of a friend, to apply the message we just heard from God’s Word, and to humbly admit we can’t fix everything on our own.

There are a lot of problems we could avoid if we would be humble enough to listen. Had I listened to my friend that morning, I wouldn’t have had to pay such a price to fix a small thing.


“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15