Cleaning House

I can check that project off my to-do list

I can check that project off my to-do list

How many things around your house have needed to get done for so long, you’ve stopped seeing them? You know what I mean—you walk past the same overgrown shrubs and weeds or turn a blind eye to the growing pile of items that need to be taken to the dump? Little things that are irksome, but not so much so that you actually do anything about it. And then when you finally get to it, there’s a sense of accomplishment—and more often than not, you wonder why you waited so long. I know that’s true for us here at the Sienes’ home.

This coming Saturday, we’re hosting a baby shower. It’ll be held outside (and thank God, the weather is supposed to be perfect), so we’ve been assessing the yard. It’s amazing how many things we see when we look with a critical eye. Small projects we’ve been planning for years—yes, years!—suddenly take on new importance. I’m able to find the time to pick up a load of mulch and get it spread in the flowerbeds and plant those annuals that have been calling me for months. The deck furniture, which needed a fresh coat of stain, now becomes a priority. And, finally, we’re making use of the pallet flagstone that’s become its own ecosystem.

Just off the edge of our deck is a pile of branches from a pine tree we had to have cut down three years ago. I’ve maneuvered the weed eater around those branches for so long, they’ve become part of the landscape. I don’t even give them a second thought. Saturday morning, Chris stood at the deck railing and looked down. “You know, it would only takes us an hour to get rid of those branches.” Confused, I looked at him. “What branches?” Then I joined him at the railing and looked down on that hideous pile. “Oh, yeah, those branches.”

It struck me yesterday at church, in the midst of our pastor’s message, that our sin is like that. We’ve been delving into Revelation, chapters two and three—Christ’s message to the seven churches. The church in Sardis had the appearance of life, but they were living on their past glory, not their present reality. Not unlike many churches today, they turned a blind eye on their sin and apathy. But Jesus had a remedy: Wake up (Revelation 3:2) and assess yourself.

So, as I assess the condition of my home and yard, I have to wonder how often I assess the condition of my heart. Am I so used to the status quo, that I don’t see the decay lurking behind a pretty façade? Or maybe it’s the quiet voice of God I ignore, just like that pile of pine branches I practically trip over several times a year. The truth of the matter is that God doesn’t care if I plant annuals or lay flagstone. Those things are temporal. What He’s concerned about is the state of my eternal life—and how willing I am to make that project a priority.

Psalm 139: 23-24—Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me; and lead me in the way everlasting.

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