Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Cleaning

I love spring cleaning. You know, the big cleaning projects, such as cleaning light fixtures, cleaning out closets, or sorting through toy buckets, putting everything back where it belongs. With my kids at Grandma’s this week, I’ve done just that, reorganizing their closets and shelves, rearranging their rooms to better accommodate their current needs/interests. I can get lost in these projects and have such joy and satisfaction after a day (or days) spent accomplishing these grand tasks.

Know what I don’t love or even like? The daily/weekly cleaning tasks necessary to keep my house presentable. Dishes, laundry, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, etc. Just yuck. The tedium of these tasks often causes me to procrastinate or ignore them longer than I should. Yes, I do enjoy the beautiful, clean home when they are done. Yes, there is a feeling of satisfaction when all the laundry is done (which only lasts until bedtime when there is once again a pile of dirty clothes). But, for me, there is no great excitement in the daily chores of housekeeping. I have to choose daily to do the chores, to get the work done.

This is not unlike our walk with God. The mountain top experiences, like camp or a retreat, a revival, a mission trip or an amazing Sunday worship service, are so exciting. Preparing for them, anticipating what God will do, keeping our ears and heart open to hear what he wants to share with us. Pure Awesomeness.

Consider Moses as he experienced the original mountain top experience. He had just led the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt, and God called him up to the mountain (Ex 19:20). Moses was speaking with God, one-on-one, on that mountain top. He was so changed he had to wear a veil over his face because he glowed (Ex 34:29-33).

You would think after that experience, Moses would have lived an incredible God-filled life … every day … for the rest of his life. But no. Somewhere in the journey, in the day-to-day, as the people got more grumbly and were whining for water, when God said, “tell the rock to yield its water,” Moses instead struck the rock with his staff (Num 20:2-12). Maybe he was angry at the people for their grumbling and hit the rock in frustration. Maybe he wasn’t really listening to God and just did what he’d done before – used the staff to perform the miracle. Maybe he was having a pride moment, and thought, “I got this. Watch what I can do,” and hit the rock because it was more impressive than just talking to it. Whatever the reason, Moses disobeyed God, and there was a big consequence of the disobedience. Moses didn’t get to lead the people into the Promised Land.

In everyday life, it is harder to remember the mountain top moment. It is a challenge to keep our ears and hearts open to hear what God will say. Day-to-day focus on God takes perseverance and determination. There’s a reason the Bible says “Do not be discouraged,” again and again (God said it a lot to Joshua, Moses’ successor). We have to choose daily to follow God. We have to choose daily to pray and study God’s Word. We have to choose daily to serve God. We have to choose daily to take up our crosses and follow Christ. It’s not easy … but the reward is Pure Awesomeness.

23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. Luke 9:23-24 ESV

14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15 ESV

Choose you this day …