Not long after our church’s Easter breakfast finished, sounds of the worship music filtered down from the sanctuary as everyone settled into their seats. Well, not everyone. Liz and I were still in the kitchen with the last of the cleanup detail. There was that one last pan, the one covered with baked on egg.
I scrubbed, “sudsed,” scoured, and rinsed. Each time I thought I got it all, but the rinse revealed the truth – still more work to do.
Liz looked over at my struggle and said, “Just let it soak. We’ll get it later.” Which is just what we did.
How much did that pan remind me of my life?
When the pan was full of fluffy eggs, I couldn’t see the crusty residue practically laminated to the pan’s bottom and edges. When I’m busy and so full of activity, I don’t notice other deep down issues that start getting embedded and ingrained in me. Things that begin to corrode and cause destruction. Things like selfishness, jealousy, pride, anger, bitterness.
But in His graciousness, God uses struggles and hardships as tools to reveal to me areas that He wants to work on. Then too often, in my own strength, I start scrubbing and scraping trying to remove and improve like I did with the eggs. After much elbow grease, I thought I had gotten it all. But the rinse revealed that while I made some progress, there was still more work to be done. And I can’t do it by myself.
With the eggs, I needed the dish detergent to do chemically what physically I could not. And I needed to fill and immerse the pan in water and just let it soak. Let the water do the work of softening the hardness.
In life, I find myself trying to clean up my act in my own strength which isn’t very effective. I need to be immersed in the Lord and His Word to soften my hardened heart and to remove the impurities that are stuck inside. I must partner with Him in the transformational work He wants to do. Paul says to “…be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. … 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.” Rom 12:1-2
MY job is to present myself “a living and holy sacrifice—… and not copy the behavior and customs of this world,” and then GOD will “transform (me) into a new person by changing the way (I) think.”
It won’t happen in an instant any more than a rinse of the water released the caked on egg. It’s a process that took time in the sink. And it’ll be a process as I soak in His presence and His promise:
Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. Eph. 5:25-27
What a beautiful promise that is! A scrub-free eternity! What do you think about that?