Today’s message is from Pastor Pam Sutherland of the St. Paul United Methodist Church & Fort Gibson United Methodist Church.
“But I got most of it up!” That’s what I would tell my mom on Saturday morning when I was in a hurry to be done cleaning my room. Every Saturday morning, we girls were tasked with the weekly cleaning. The dusting, sweeping, and vacuuming around the house was divided up but we each had to do our own rooms. EVERY SATURDAY MORNING! We couldn’t go anywhere or do anything until the chores were done. And I was always in a hurry to go out and play. I figured if I got most of the dirt off the floor in my room it was good enough – for me at least. But mom always made me go back and finish the job so that the room was actually clean and didn’t just look clean. My children’s father had a similar attitude toward cleaning. He would always tell me when he completed a cleaning task, “I got the big chunks up!”
Sometimes I think that’s the way we approach our Christian life too. We “clean up” most of our life. Just enough to feel comfortable and look good. The “big chunks” that others can see. At least that’s what we do when our Christianity is “works-oriented” rather than grace-oriented. We tend to think if we don’t do this “bad” thing, and we do some “good” things and it all evens out, it’s good enough. We’re good enough. But Christianity isn’t about following rules, it’s about following a Savior and allowing Him to live in and through us.
So, while we may clean up the “big chunks” that everyone can see, what about those places no one can see? The hidden thoughts and attitudes. The things we say in private (and sometimes not so privately) about other people. Do they reflect our love for God and for people?
We are in the season of Lent now. A time to reflect and reevaluate our lives in view of the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf when He gave His life as a ransom for our sin. It’s a chance to ask ourselves if our thoughts, attitudes, words, and actions truly reflect our love for God and our love for others. If not, we are called to repent and realign ourselves with Jesus’s commandment. Love God. Love people.
The Apostle Paul wrote: “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.“(Philippians 2:1-5)
Today I’m thankful that God isn’t satisfied with just cleaning up “the big chunks” on the outside, but that He wants to clean out all the things on the inside so that I can better reflect the attitude of Christ Jesus.
God bless and keep you.