Wednesday night about 60 of us had country fried steak for our weekly dinner here at the Mason UMC. Medina and some others cleaned up after dinner as they always do. Thursday about 70-75 people had lunch here for the weekly lunch all the churches share through Lent. The New Haven UMC fed and cleaned up. Then Thursday night we took food to Huntington to feed a lot of people who are homeless right now. The Salisbury Steak was fixed in the kitchen and nobody cleaned up afterward. I knew the person who cleans the church every week would be in today so the first thing this morning I spent about a half hour washing dishes and wiping counters. I didn’t want to leave the mess for someone else.
I know there are some wives and mothers reading this who wish someone, anyone, in their house would clean up after themselves. Others of you clean up after others in your house or in your job and don’t mind one bit. You do it with love.
When I was cleaning the kitchen this morning, I washed a coffee ring off the kitchen counter and it just disappeared. You could never tell it was there. The thought came to me that the kitchen counter was never, ever going to get that stain off itself. It required something more. It required some one or some thing to act on the counters behalf to clean it.
It’s sort of like people who say they are going to go to church or become a follower of Jesus when they get their act together or when they get themselves straightened up. It’s never going to happen. It’s impossible without God. It’s hard enough after God places His Spirit in you. Matthew 26:41 reminds us that our flesh is weak. In Romans 7:19, Paul says, “I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” This is long AFTER Paul is converted. It’s difficult enough to live right and do the right thing after we’ve become a follower of Jesus, but absolutely impossible before we become His follower.
He was and is willing to clean up the mess that was and is our lives – yours and mine. He can wash you and take away all the stains. And He’s happy to do it if you will allow it. He will act on your behalf. Just as that counter top couldn’t clean itself, neither can we. It is Good News that it does you no good to clean up before He comes. Any cleaning we do is superficial cleaning. Jesus does a deep cleaning.
“God I admit I’ve tried over and over to make myself acceptable to You and You know how I’ve failed. I realize I need You to help me. I need the forgiveness that You offer through the sacrifice of Jesus. I am sorry and ask Your forgiveness. Cleanse me of my sin. Help me to turn from those things I have been unable to clean up on my own. Help me to live for You. I ask this is Jesus’ Name, Amen.”