Posted by: mikenicholsblog | October 22, 2009

the kitchen sink

A friend recently shared a spiritual application involving his life and his kitchen sink.  Curious yet?!  He shared that he has never lived in a house with a dishwasher.  And that over the years, he has actually developed a strong affinity for hand washing dishes.  Most times end with a sense of accomplishment, and he says that it presents a great opportunity to do some deep thinking.  But the other night, he experienced some specific spiritual insight and application in his life, that I got his permission to share with you.

As he rinsed the sink clean, and put the dish strainer in its usual spot under the sink, his mind began to focus on the empty and ordered kitchen sink and how it represented what he wished his life to be.  free from the clutter of everyday “dirty dishes” (stresses, problems, conflict, sin).  Spotless and sparkling, clean and … holy.

He thought of the truth that there weren’t any days that he could ever remember where there weren’t dishes to do.  Some nights found the sink in the condition it was that night.  But many nights found anywhere from a few pre-rinsed and stacked items to a mountain of sticky, baked on messes.  An illustration, for certain, of the days lived in Spirit with confessed sin, and a right relationship as his head hit the pillow.  And also of those nights ending with an unresolved brake in the relationship with the Father caused by seemingly minor, but nagging unrepentant sin, or outright rebellion and a filling with self.

He thought further of the contrast in how he deals with the everyday dirty dishes.  And how, although he wants a clean sink in the end, he is tempted to avoid the labor of stacking, washing, rinsing, drying and putting away.  Instead, choosing to take his dirty dishes and hide them under the sink.  You know, put them in the strainer and then quickly close the door.  The sink’s empty, right?!  If someone comes over to visit, the sink looks perfectly clean to them.  But although the “full cycle” and “strainer-behind-closed-door” approaches both appear to accomplish the same thing, only one leaves the kitchen in order, and clean for the start of a new dish day.  In the latter, the strainer eventually can’t hold the dirty’s anymore, and they come falling out when the cupboard door swings open.

I am not sure how he saw all of that from a clean and empty kitchen sink.  But I’m guessing that some of you can relate.  How important it is to “not let the sun go down” on our anger.  Or allow a break in our relationship with the Father to linger another day.  We are guaranteed dirty dishes, and life can get messy.  We can, and should, desire a clean sink.  But also realize that the stacking, and washing, and rinsing, and drying and putting away is where God wants us.

My friend offered a few verses that he finds encouragement and challenge in, as the mess of his humanity meets the promises and grace of God.

I Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

I John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will
forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have
peace.  In this world you will have trouble. But
take heart! I have overcome the world.”

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