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Ruth Bell Graham once said everyone has a purpose in life, if for nothing else than to serve as a bad example. Before judging Mrs. Graham as insensitive or precipitous think of her stating this with a twinkle to the eye. She was that kind of woman.
Along those same lines though, if at least one purpose to a person, let it also hold true every event, object, activity also performs the function beyond casual observation: if we but have eyes to see, ears to hear.
Cleaning the surface of my stove-top is one such event, a job I like to work at sometimes longer than necessary. Dish cloth and I like to rub and rub and I to think. Once in a while the rubbing actually produces something more useful than exercise of the forearm or stalling a different chore I love less.
Okay. If looks, all white sparkle, as I polish off the tea towel final swipe could enlighten my eyes, they do. But not for long. For this have I noted: always an unseen film of detritus remains behind, incognito. Heat is its turncoat. The same enamels, that hour, that me enamored its pure qualities thereof, two later when burner red and blue flames up, will manifest yellow scour, brown fleck come back to scorn. Hear a lesson.
Though I do try to remember to change it often, my everyday dish cloth green hides hideous: heinous are its unmentionables. Then how about washer washed, dryer dried, fresh folded from the drawer squares? Never.
As in life, thereís always something. Or someone: the Sanballats of Nehemiah and the world. Be it soap leavings slight or softener scant, skilled stain or mini-bugs hanging on for dear life with their little clinched tootsies, present as any microscope worth its salt will testify, blinks some order of scientific experiment. So what is the lesson?
With all spiritual insight from the Holy Spirit, me rubbing again, but this time at my skin with soapy terry under shower needles, the process reasons out. Only the perfectly, hundred percent clean, can truly clean. (Just in case you havenít noticed, feminine thoughts squiggle from stoves to humans and back. My manly provider says I do this, but hey, he is waffles, I am spaghetti.) Make that hundred twenty (Levitical law of redemption: the fifth-part overmuch that Christ paid for our sins), the beautiful beyond belief blood cleansing power of our Redeemer only has ability to make clean the unclean.
But, dishrag creatures that we are: self-helping, boot strapping of the first order, could we be any more foolish? To think we could scrub away ever all? Almost clean, a lot clean, think-its-clean equals all same. In maxim words, "A miss is as good as a mile."(see James 2:10)
So when heat heats, human heaves leave a shortfall with long fall consequences. But when heat heats other, heaven-cleansed hearts heave sighs of relief. The luster stays. Having been washed once, the unclean (by the Clean) became clean, with buckets of clean left over.
On stovetops at our house this is not likely: however they do serve a purpose, even if only as bad examples.
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Janice, I'm going to feature this well-written article on the Front Page Showcase for the week of July 9. Look for it on the FaithWriters home page--and congratulations!