When I was a child living on a farm in southern Ontario, we had no electricity or running water. We also had two wood stoves. There were no chimney sweeps, so father cleaned the chimney, but our mother and we kids cleaned the stovepipes.
I remember one particular day when we were cleaning the pipes. We wore our very oldest clothes, because if we got that soot on our clothes, it was hard to get out. We took the pipes apart to clean the soot out of the inside. Each section of pipe needed to be scrubbed vigorously inside with a wire brush to remove the build-up of creosote. Wow! We were black with the soot.
In the midst of this, just guess who drives down our laneway but the minister (yes, in those days, ministers did make house calls). Mother said, "We cannot let anyone see us like this!" We were all to hide until he gave up and left.
This particular minister would probably have helped us with our cleanup, and mother was not embarrassed or ashamed, but considerate in regard to not putting others in an awkward position for dropping by at an inopportune time. In any case, she couldn't let anyone see her like that.
This memory of cleaning the stovepipes brings to my mind the words of Jesus:
Matthew 23:25-26 – Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. (NIV)
Jesus meant that our lives are to be clean on the inside as well as on the outside. My desire is to have my life to be clean both inside and outside, and not to be embarrassed to be seen by anyone.
How about you?
Prayer: Father, we thank You for Your grace in cleaning the soot out of our insides and for polishing our outsides so that we may shine for You and not be embarrassed. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "O The Deep Deep Love Of Jesus" (Lyrics)