Across the street from my office in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, nearly fifty years ago, there was a gas station, they did not call them “service stations” back then. It was run by an old German. He was one of the most efficient men I have ever known, but some days even he would get behind. You could tell that it really bothered him. He was not used to leaving anything undone at the close of the day.

One day, when things were particularly out of order, I stopped in to get gas and to my surprise he called from the little shop attached to the station,

“You vill haft to pump it you self!” (This was in the day when self-service was unheard of.)

After I had finished pumping my gas I walked back to where Herman was and found him hanging half in and half out of the engine compartment of an old auto.

He spoke apologetically, “This old car and me are juust alike, vorn out, but don’t know ven to qvit.” Then with the wisdom of more than eighty years of hard labor he said, “Do you know how much verk vone mule can do?”

“No,” I confessed, “How much work can one mule do?”

We begin to think that we must do more than is possible!
“All he can do,” he smiled, “Juust all he can do, no more.”

Some days we all need to hear Herman again. We begin to think that we must do more than is possible and then feel guilty that we have not finished everything that seemed to be set before us.

Just once in a while we may need to just shout from the work shop, “You vill haft to pump it you self!” After all we should at least be as smart as a mule!