This past week, I visited a very healthy and thriving church in the city I live in. I have to admit I was pretty giddy about visiting the Pastor and touring their building. Also, I hoped to forge a friendship as we both pastor literally two blocks from each other.
As I walked up to the front door something caught my attention. It wasn’t the well-placed signs directing people where to park or which doors to go through, although they did their job. It wasn’t the well-manicured landscaping peeking through the melting snow here in north central Iowa. It wasn’t even the very well maintained building that I was walking in.
Are you ready? Wait for it…
It was all of the “ABC gum” (Already Been Chewed) that was in the flower bed directly by the front entrance of this church. That is what really caught my attention. Who does that? Really? Right in front of the church doors…seriously! Then it dawned on me––I was doing the exact same thing! I had thrown my gum deep in the back of the bed so that no one would see it. I wasn’t thinking about the intern or groundskeeper that would have battle a million ants in April as new flowers were being planted. I was being one of those people!
As I walked through the door, I was so grateful for the hand sanitizer in the lobby. I could “wash” my “hands” before I would shake hands with any of the staff of the church––blotting out the “sins” that were on my fingertips from throwing my gum.
Boy, you guessed it, this got me to thinking about my actions. The patterns of things that I do on a regular basis that I am not proud of. Those things that I say under my breath when only Jesus can hear. Those thoughts that go through my head that only I am able to comprehend! If only I had “sanitizer” right then and there every time. I could be clean. Well, I don’t really what to just be clean, I don’t want to do those things anymore. I want to be better!
Well guess what? I can be cleaner.
Isaiah 1:16 (ESV), “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil.
And guess what else? I can be better.
Romans 12: (NLT), “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Ephesians 4:23 (NLT), “Instead, let God’s Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”
Take a second to thank Jesus for His grace! We will never reach perfection on this side of heaven, put we sure can be cleaner and better for life’s wear on this side of heaven!
Well, I am not spitting my gum out in the flower bed ANYMORE. There’s one down! Just a couple of more to go! I wish, LOL!