Today is CLEANING DAY. I’ve got folks coming over tomorrow night for a rehearsal dinner so, you know things have to be spotless. I put off cleaning as long as I could because a) I live in a house full of guys, b) I had other things that needed my attention, and c) it’s easier to put off cleaning the house.
Now, you will not hear these excuses coming from my mother’s mouth. I’m amused when she talks about spending all day cleaning. I’m thinking, “What in the world could you be cleaning? Oh, I know, it takes you all day to find things that need to actually be cleaned!” I have affectionately tagged her “O.C.D.” regarding her house. While I can sleep like a baby with a single, dirty cup in my sink, she CANNOT….WILL NOT. Of course, now she lives alone, but boy did we keep her hopping when her house was full with a husband and three kids!
Mom’s has a “want to/need to” issue. She wants to have everything in it’s specific place at ALL times so she needs to stay on top of things. Mine, on the other hand, is a need to/have to situation. I need to have a clean house because people are coming tomorrow night so I have to clean it up. Don’t get me wrong; we don’t live in a pig sty (most days), it’s just that my house is more “lived in” (nice way of putting it, huh?).
Now, to be honest, I don’t think that my mother was born with her O.C.D. tendencies; rather, I think she became programmed to them as a young bride and mother. She tells the story that before Chris was born (so at least 42 years ago), my dad pastored a small church in Denver, NC. He got paid a whopping $35.00/week. Along with this sizable income, our family was provided a parsonage – a house owned by the church – to live in (but my parents had to pay their own utilities). My mother had to work an outside job while taking care of two children. And, being the pastor’s wife, she was warned to always keep the parsonage clean and presentable because folks could and would drop by at any time.
Thus her need to always have things in tip top shape.
Boy was she fun to live with growing up. Chris & I would get our toys out to play and heaven forbid we have to go to the bathroom because when we got back to our toys, they were gone. PUT AWAY. I was never allowed to close my bedroom door during the day or leave clothes laying ANYWHERE. Everything had to be put in it’s rightful place. One of the perks about her “condition”; when we got up to take our morning showers, we returned to made up beds. True story….we never had to make our beds (we couldn’t get them tucked just right anyway).
Fast forward to today. Because of her cleanliness and the environment I grew up in, I WANT a clean house (and I can’t stand to leave the house with an unmade bed). The problem is that the cleaning part was so often done for me that I don’t have the gumption sometimes to keep it as tidy as my mother keeps her house. I’m not as “prepared” when company drops by unannounced.
So today, I will work tirelessly to get this place in order so that people coming over will think, “Man, they live in a clean house!” Good thing they’re not dropping by now. You see, my sweet mother could have folks come by right now and her house would be as clean is it would be tomorrow night. She’s prepared.
Christians, this will PREACH! With each generation, we get further and further from a “clean house”. “Dirt” (sin) is swept under rugs and messes shoved into closets so that on Sundays it appears our houses are clean. But drop by during the week and what would our spiritual house look like? But think about who we’re to reach as Christians…the LOST. Guess when they see you? Not so much in church but rather in your every day life. Do they see a clean house? Does your daily living match the picture you “hope” they’re seeing each day?
We cannot afford to have spiritual dirty houses. Like my godly mother, we must be prepared every day to represent Christ to everyone we meet…whether we expected them or not.
2 Timothy 2:15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”