It’s no secret that the state of my kitchen is usually such that a health department inspection would net me some violations.
My sink is full of dirty dishes. There’s food on the floor. And apparently I’m supplying an ant colony with its winter rations. (Side note: My daughter wants to watch A Bug’s Life. I’m afraid she will start to sympathize with the ants. The dilemmas of parenthood are endless.)
I clean; I’m just not always regular about it. Occasionally it shames me, but I try not to let it bother me too much.
Last week I made cookies for a family who is dear to us. The mom — we’ll call her Dawn because that’s her name — offered to watch our two kids plus her two kids by herself so my husband and I could go to the senior banquet at the seminary. I should also note that her husband is graduating, and they were unable to attend the banquet because her hubby was out of town. Sacrifices, people, are a beautiful thing.
This family is so inspiring. A couple of years ago, a diagnosis of Celiac Disease, forced them into a gluten-free lifestyle, which is easier now than it used to be but still not easy. Dawn has had to educate herself on gluten and all the possible traces of gluten in products. She consults a book for new and unfamiliar products. She calls the company if she can’t find the information in the book. She’s amazing. And her husband — he doesn’t have to eat gluten-free for health reasons, but he does because he loves his wife and daughters and doesn’t want to make them sick. Again, the sacrifices.
Back to the cookies. I have prepared food for this family before, but baking took it to a whole new level. I’ve even made gluten-free brownies before. These cookies, flourless peanut butter cookies, were not billed as gluten-free, per se, but after consulting with Dawn, I got the go-ahead to make them for the Friday night babysitting extravaganza.
This would be no ordinary cookie baking event. I scrubbed down the mixer from top to bottom. I used separate wash rags for cleaning. I cleaned each utensil, each measuring cup before I used it on the off chance that I forgot to wash it the last time I used it. Separate spoons. Washing hands. Keeping the kids away from the ingredients. A new jar of peanut butter so no trace of gluten from PB&J sandwiches would cross-contaminate. I focused solely on the task at hand, trying not to touch anything else in the kitchen or do any other household chores while I was in the cookie-making process.
I took care to keep the cookies free of any trace of gluten for love of my friends.
And I wondered if I cared as much about keeping my life free of contaminants for the love of Jesus, who calls me to purity and holiness.
I don’t have to earn my holiness. I never could.
I do have to work at it, though.
While making the cookies, I couldn’t cut corners. For my friend, it’s not that she can’t have a lot of gluten it’s that she can’t have ANY gluten. With sin, it’s not that God wants people to have only a little sin in their lives. He wants us to have NO sin in our lives.
It’s not a perfect illustration because maybe we won’t ever totally eliminate sin in our lives. The death of Jesus, however, makes it possible for us to be with God even though we have sinned and do sin.
In response, we work to eliminate sin in our lives so we can present ourselves pure before Him. His grace fills in the gaps where we fail.
Anybody hungry for holiness?