Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why look under the stovetop?

I almost hate to admit this, in case I ever have the chance to serve you a meal in my home ... but last week I lifted the stovetop in my kitchen .... for the first time since we got it! It's been a few years, and I'm so embarrassed. Now don't get me wrong, I've cleaned the top DAILY and even down around the cracks between stove and counter where I drip pancake batter. Strangely, if you're in my kitchen, you may never know I don't lift the lid ... at least not yet.

So a wave of deep cleaning motivation swept over me, and I lifted the lid, propping it up on metal supports while I dismantled round things and elements and liner parts. Only one word can express what I found: GROSS. Baked on spills, blackened remnants, crusty residue - yuck! I've been going along like everything was just fine, since the surface looked good to me and to all those unknowing souls who have been served at my table (sorry, friends).

Much hot water, soap bubbles, and brillo pads later (not to mention dishpan hands when I decided to go native and strip off the rubber gloves), all of my work paid off, and the dirtiness gave way to cleanliness, to restoration. I had to start over with clean water multiple times and really work at dealing with the accumulation. My initial disgust changed to relief and pleasure ... and new motivation to use my stove to serve my family things to make them "ooh" and "aah" and "mmm" again.

So we look under the stovetop for the same reason we ask God to show us the sin deep within our hearts, the ugly stuff we are often able to disguise under an exterior that looks good. Instead of a false sense of peace that comes from looking good on the outside, He wants us to deep clean and be free of the crud we allow to build up.

Jesus told the religious leaders of His day they were beautiful on the outside, like whitewashed tombs (or a white stove, in my case), but inside they were really full of dead bones and "everything unclean" (Matt. 23:27-28). In the same way, He says people may look righteous on the outside, but be full of hypocrisy and wickedness "under the stovetop." Who would ever know, unless we ask God to lift the lid of our hearts, being bold enough to look under the white lid, and do the dirty job of dealing with what's under there? And we can't wait 3 years to do it! If you put it off, the job is only more grizzly. I can testify that we need to look under the stovetop and clean regularly ...... then I'll be glad to have you over. ;)

6 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Margaret said...

Great analogy, thanks for sharing!

Chaos Cottage said...

How about posting an after photo.


Kristi said...

I ALWAYS love the illustrations you draw from daily life. [I won't look under your stovetop if you don't look under mine.] ;)

I often think that cleaning is such a vivid reminder of how much we need God to "deep clean" us daily - the crud builds up so quickly in our hearts when we let little things slide...

Laurie Mitchell said...

I love it when God gives us analogies through daily events in our lives. I have one you might like about my refrigerator if you care to look. Thanks for visiting me yesterday!

Warren Baldwin said...

You do a good job of making a spiritual application from something from everyday life. Good contemporary illustration/application from an enduring principle from Jesus!

Thanks for the good comments on Family Fountain on staying married for the kids. That is a tough subject.

Tonya said...