To these daily chores were added seasonal and annual chores, such as fertilizing and bush-hogging pastures, cutting and bailing hay, cleaning out stables, burning off fence rows, and repairing and painting barns and fences.
While the seasonal and annual tasks were important, it was really the system of daily chores that instilled in me whatever discipline I now possess and display.
This may very well also account for the fact that I am really more of a “straightener” than “cleaner”. As a general rule, I tend to do my “straightening up” first thing in the morning. Thus, when I get up, I normally make the bed, have my breakfast (graciously prepared earlier for me by my wife), and then immediately put the dirty dishes away and the kitchen back in order. Thereafter, I give the house what might best be described as a “onceover”.
(Let me hasten to add here that thirty-seven years of marriage have also had an impact. Needless to say, my wife has trained me well.) I also straighten up at other times in the day, depending upon my schedule and/or what I have going on that day. I especially do this on my day off.
But there is a big difference between merely straightening up around the house and undertaking a thorough cleaning of one’s home. And as I have also alluded to in earlier blog posts, that difference can best be seen in the difference between mine and my wife’s approach to a dirty house. Quite simply, while I straighten, she cleans! And when I say she cleans, I mean just that - she cleans!
I make the bed; but she removes the sheets and pillow cases and washes and dries them. I put the dishes away; but she runs the dishwasher and scalds the kitchen. I pick up; but she vacuums and mops and dusts. I could go on; but you get the point! I straighten and she cleans!
In other words, I do surface stuff; but she goes much deeper. I address the outside; but she addresses the inside. I give attention to what shows; but she gives attention to what matters!
In all of this, I am reminded of what Jesus had to say as He excoriated the religious leaders of His day. In the New Testament Gospel of Matthew (chapter 23, verses 25 through 28), He states:
25Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, so that the outside may become clean as well.
27Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of impurity. 28In the same way, on the outside you appear to be righteous, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
I trust you see the point. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were good at straightening, but not at cleaning! They focused on the outside, on what showed. Jesus challenged them to focus on the inside, on what really mattered. Had they done so, they would have been better off. And so would the world in which they lived.
In case you are wondering, even as I write this blog post, my wife is busy scouring our house. Before she began, it had the appearance of being clean; but it really wasn’t. It only looked presentable because it had been straightened up by me. When she is done, it will be genuinely clean. It will not only look clean; it will actually be clean – both inside and out!
And while I like living in a house that appears to have been straightened up, I much prefer to live in a home that has been thoroughly cleaned! I know the difference; and so does she.
Likewise, I know the difference between a life that has merely been straightened up on the outside and one that has been thoroughly cleansed by Jesus Christ both inside and out. Having experienced both, I much prefer the latter! Trust me, you will too!
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: https://biblehub.com/bsb/matthew/23.htm.
SEE ALSO: https://www.cleoejacksoniii.com/my-ongoing-thoughts/real-clean.