Posted by: pmarkrobb | June 22, 2011

everything and the kitchen sink

Along your journey of faith, you sometimes find strong spiritual application in the most unlikely situations and locales.  One of my most unusual, happened while standing at my kitchen sink.

To set the context, I have never lived in a house with a dishwasher.  So I have spent my fair share of time with a dish cloth or dish towel in my hands.  But before you assume that I am fishing for sympathy, I should be clear and say that over the years I have actually developed a strong affinity for hand washing dishes.  Most times end with a sense of accomplishment, and the activity presents a great opportunity to clear my mind, or do some deep thinking.  On one particular occasion, what came into clear focus provided some powerful spiritual insight and application in my life, that I believe is worthy of sharing with you.

After rinsing the sink clean and putting the dish strainer away, something prompted me to pause for a minute and stare at the empty and ordered sink.  I am convinced that “something” was the Spirit working within me.  What began to come into clear focus was how much my clean sink was the perfect illustration of what I wished my life to be.  Free from the clutter of everyday “dirty dishes” (stresses, problems, conflict, sin).  Spotless and sparkling, clean and … holy.

I thought of the truth that there weren’t any days that I could ever remember where there weren’t dishes to do.  Some nights found the sink in the condition it was at that moment, clean and sparkling.  But many nights found anywhere from a few pre-rinsed and stacked items, to a mountain of sticky, baked on messes.  The first, an illustration of the days lived in Spirit with confessed sin, and a right relationship as my head hit the pillow.  The latter, of those nights ending with an unresolved break in the relationship with the Father caused by seemingly minor, unrepentant sin, or outright rebellion and a filling with self.

I thought further of the contrast in how I deal with the everyday dirty dishes.  And how, although I really do desire a clean sink in the end, I am so tempted to avoid the labor of stacking, washing, rinsing, drying and putting away.  Instead, choosing to take my 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 other, 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 I 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 every day, and life can get messy.  But we can, and should, desire a clean sink.  In the midst of the desire, hold tight to the truth that the stacking, washing, rinsing, drying and putting away is where God wants us.

Here are a few verses that I find encouragement and challenge in, as the mess of my 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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