Thursday, June 20, 2013

"Excuse me, will you clean this toilet?"

It needed cleaning. The "it" was a dingy, grungy unused toilet tucked away in the corner of the old garage.  Volunteers had scoured the rest of the renovated space making it fit for a new mechanic that was opening a shop. All that was left to do before we moved on to the next room was that the bathroom.

"Excuse me, would you clean this toilet?"

Um...are you sure God? I didn't want to. It was gross. It was a small space but probably one of the most disgusting toilets I had seen in a while. So neglected, and there was a spider in there.  I took a big gulp and exhaled slowly.

I took a deep breath. I slugged over to the corner and took another look inside. The neglect was obvious and perhaps a little daunting.  I grabbed some gloves.

I wasn't about to say no to God.

No one was looking as I went in with a roll of paper towels in one hand and a full bottle of cleaner in the other.
Then came another request, "While you are in here, please clean it like it was your own."

Um...are you sure about that one God? I think you know what that answer was.   Another sigh.

So as unto the Lord....I cleaned. I was like a beast. I used almost the entire roll of paper towels. I dove elbows deep into the dirt. I put my head down and made a difference in that small room with no one looking.

Next request, "Will you pray for the mechanic that will do business here? The customers that will drive through those doors?"

God asked me to care by praying for those I didn't know. Then it hit me....

A lot of what God does for me is done when I am not looking because someone is praying.

May I reassure you? God works on our circumstances when we aren't looking. How do I know? Because I know that prayers are being said on our behalf.

You may ask what this has to do with cleaning a toilet?  Nothing. What God and I had a conversation about that day, in that little neglected, dirt-filled room, was my attitude that needed adjustment. Check.

My view of God might have been a little diminished. And it takes a good reminder on your knees scrubbing a grimy toilet to remember who is the Head Custodian.

God cares for you. You may think today that it doesn't feel like it. But He does cares.

What about all those things you just mentioned to Him this morning? I know...He's got a lot on His heavenly plate, but He still has room on His table for your needs. He is not neglecting you. 

It might be time that you go clean a toilet.

While I was cleaning, I was silent. I assumed he sent me in there for a reason. God had my full attention. The more I didn't speak words, the more peace He spoke into me. With each spray and wipe He kept reminding me of all of the answered prayers. He stroked my heart with His care.

He cares for me. God cares for you. And all the burdens you carry with you.

Have you told God what's on your heart today? Have you listened for His response? Is there a toilet you need to clean?

God waits for us to come to Him, not because He is not informed about what is going on in our lives, but He waits for you to agree that you need His help in the matters you bring. God is a polite Custodian that will act on your behalf but He likes to be kindly invited with a key to your heart so that He has an all-access pass as He does his own clean up work.

Maybe when I am distracted...
Or slow in admitting that I messed up
Or try to fix my own messes
Or forget to bear the fruit of the Spirit
Or fail to really listen
Or tap my toe at God's timing....

God asks me to clean a toilet and then reminds me of His care. If I am asking God for big things in my life I have to obey Him with the small things too.

God taught me about serving love. If I say I love others no matter what, I have to be willing to get my hands dirty when no one is looking. Even if it is a man’s toilet.

God taught me about joy. If I want to experience His joy then I must endure more painful circumstances. Obedience is my reward.

God reminded me about being a peace giver. If I want to imitate God like it says in Ephesians 5:1 then I have to be ready to speak it every time.

God reminded me that kindness and gentleness turn away wrath.

With each swipe God stroked my reassurance of His tender care. I was in it to win it. I cleaned that bowl till it was spotless! I was cleansed with His fullness.

God reminded me that listening is a part of praying. My attitude gained new fresh-smelling scent. Check.

Perhaps there is some cleaning that you need to do too?  "Excuse me, would you clean a toilet please?"
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