Cleanliness is next to Godliness
Josh Campbell – 25/02/2016
I admit it. Some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in life have been from my mother-in-law. There’s something she always says: “life is all about avoiding chaos”. When I first heard this I thought it was really dark and dreary. But when she explained what she meant… I learned a valuable lesson.
As with everything – my mother-in-law was referring of course to cleaning her house. If you know Clare Jones – you know she has the cleanest house on planet earth. Terms such as “the rules of splashing”, and “the key is a hot soapy sink” have become second nature to me after marrying in to this family. What she was saying was “if you can take care of cleaning the house when it is still “clean” – rather than waiting until it is really messy before you pick up a vacuum cleaner (or a toothbrush dipped in Janola) – then you are avoiding chaos.
Basically – left to itself – everything in this world descends into chaos. The key to keeping on top of your house or your garden getting overrun or completely messy and covered in grime – is to discipline yourself to clean it regularly even before it looks like you need to clean it! So here I am helping my beautiful wife last week vacuuming the house – and I’m thinking to myself – why am I even vacuuming? There is literally no dirt to pick up – there is no dust – this house is clean. Why do we need to do this so regularly? The words of my mother-in-law come into my head “you’re avoiding chaos”.
Mowing my lawns is the same – every two weeks I will mow it and it hardly seems to make a difference. “Why bother?” I think to myself. “It would be so much easier if I didn’t have to do this so often”. But it’s amazing how quickly, after that two week mark, my lawns turn in to a mystical forest. Grass up to my knees. If I don’t mow my lawns for 4 weeks it takes me two hours longer than if I mow it every two weeks.
A bigger life lesson is hidden here. First in the natural – then in the spiritual (1 Cor 15:46). In life and in our spirits – if we let the little dusty things and the dirt and the sin creep in and we let it camp – our lives will quickly descend into chaos. We must “clean ourselves up” even before it looks like we are getting dirty. A successful Christian life is a lot about avoiding chaos. Keeping disciplines in our lives like reading the bible, talking to God, keeping short accounts and asking forgiveness for those little mistakes we make straight away – keeps our lives clean.
Sometimes discipline can seem mundane, but the reality is life is a lot simpler when you are only cleaning up little things regularly – instead of every 6 months having to get the dump truck out and recladding moulded walls and torching piles of trash and trying to re-paint over permanent marks and scratches and scrubbing grime so hard that it leaves a burn. There’s this classic scripture that comes to mind:
Luke 16:10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
The truth is – little things turn in to big things.
So next time I’m cleaning an already clean house – I’ll remember that this is a better way than the alternative. I’d rather clean a clean house than have to deal with an absolute mess. I’ve got to constantly battle against the chaos. I don’t want the grass growing too long, I don’t want spider webs appearing, I don’t want the grime fusing itself to the walls, I don’t want the wood panelling to go rotten. Because seriously, ain’t nobody got time for that.
Thanks Pastor Clare!
– Josh Campbell, Creative Director