Dirt Rings

The other day we moved a big, old piece of furniture out of the back room—you know the one, where everything you don’t know what to do with is put because you aren’t quite ready to fully let go of it. The time had come to move out the behemoth so we could reclaim that space. It had been there for over ten years and I couldn’t move it to clean under it all that time. You can imagine the mess it left behind, especially since it was only steps away from the back door.

With that out of the way, I attacked the area with hot soapy water and a scrub brush. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but the water turned muddy. In my defense, country dirt infiltrates everywhere, and ten years’ worth meant a lot of dirt. Scrub, rinse, get fresh water, repeat. The stain is still there, but at least I know it’s a clean stain now. Thankfully, it’s hidden and I’ll be doing a lot of cleaning there in the months to come.

Once the job was done, I was called away to tend Toby and that groadie bucket was forgotten for a couple days. I just found it and washed it. Inside and out. It took some scrubbing to get it clean but I didn’t want to have to clean my cleaning bucket before using it the next time. I went to put it away and happened to see the bottom. It was muddy!

I was setting myself up. Cleaning with that bucket with the dirty bottom would have left dirt rings wherever I set it, even though it was clean inside and out.

The same thing happens in my life. Often I’ll carefully clean the inside and the outside, but neglect the base. After all, it’s not seen. It seems like it’s not important. Although it may not be seen, the effects of the dirt will be, and it will always be when I don’t want them to be—after I’ve cleaned another area and expect the job to be done and everything clean and looking pristine.

It’s worth the extra time to clean right. Inside, outside, upside-down. After all, God already knows it’s there. The only ones we’re fooling is ourselves and a few people around us, and that’s only until the dirt shows up. And it always does.

Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight.
Cease to do evil,
Learn to do good;
Seek justice…
“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the LORD,
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Thought they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.”
Isaiah 1:16-18 NAS

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