Cleaning Fingerprints

Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash,
except for the feet, to be entirely clean.”

John 13:10 NLT

“Fingerprints all over the place.”

My oldest grandson called the dirty storm door to my attention as he and his younger brother stood looking over the back yard. Of course, he failed to mention both of them were the reason for the smudges. Since we keep them six days a week, keeping it clean was an exercise in futility I’d almost given up on.

“Handprints are more like it” I snickered.

“You need to clean it, Pop,” he said.

A Type A personality like myself, he can’t stand dirt—or smudges. I walked by and left the door alone. Since we were moving in a couple of weeks, I had more reason to ignore the grimy paw prints. When I decide to clean the door—probably just before we move, I won’t replace the entire door. I’ll just take out the window cleaner and clean the glass portion.

Jesus proposed a similar scenario to His disciples. They didn’t need to wash all over—just their feet. They were totally cleansed when they believed in Him and decided to be His followers. Now they merely needed a daily sponge bath.

At nine years of age, I decided to do what these early disciples did—trust Jesus as my Savior. Dad explained the gospel message of how Jesus died for my sins. I believed and invited Him into my life. In that moment, He cleansed me all over. Past, present, and future sins—of which there have been many, were washed away. The price Jesus paid on Calvary for humanity’s sins was applied to me.

But what about the daily fingerprints that come from putting my hands where they don’t belong—like my grandchildren? They won’t send me to hell because Jesus’ blood has covered them. They will, however, interfere with my spiritual vision as the fingerprints on the door cloud the view of the backyard. Confession will clear away the smudges. My acknowledgment of my failures and sins is what Jesus referred to when He mentioned a daily foot washing.

Make confession a daily practice. It’s good for the soul and will keep your feet clean. And remove the smudges from the doors so interaction between the Savior and you can be open and clear.

Loving the Least

But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.
Matthew 10:29 NLT

The peeping alerted me that something was amiss.

A mother bluebird had hatched several nestlings in a birdhouse outside my office window. As I worked, I enjoyed hearing their peeps as the mother and father bird made numerous trips to feed their young.

On one particular day, the peeping was different. I looked outside, thinking the babies had flown the coup. And they had—expect for one who languished on the cement porch. I quickly scooped up the hatchling and returned it to the nest. But mom and dad never returned. I saw them flitting around in the yard, but they ignored the peeps of the abandoned baby. Though I tried feeding it insects, it was dead when I arrived for work the next day.

In warning His followers about the persecution on their horizon, Jesus reminded them that not even a sparrow falls without His knowledge. He loves the least. I thought of the verse when I opened the birdhouse and saw the dead baby. My heart broke as I realized sin was the reason this scenario had gone awry. God didn’t want the nestling to die.

Loving the least is rarely easy. I thought of the Andy Griffith episode where Andy’s son, Opie, adopted a nest full of baby birds and nurtured them until they were ready to fly. His attempt succeeded; mine failed. But at least I made the effort.

Though animals aren’t created in the likeness of God as people are—and though they don’t have immortal souls as humans do, they are still a part of God’s creation which He expects us to care for. Many years ago, God entrusted Adam and Eve with the care of His creation. His instructions to them have been passed to all earthly inhabitants.

But loving the least extends beyond animals and the environment to people. We are God’s highest creation, made in His image. It may be easier to hobnob with those in places of importance who can scratch our back in return, but God wants us to love the least too. Those in dire straits. Those who can’t fend for themselves. Those to whom life has handed a tough hand of cards.

Learn to love the least—not just those who can help you in return.

The Table Light

Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 5:16 KJV

Crazy is taking two young children to a restaurant and trying to enjoy a meal.

My daughter refuses to take her two and four-year-old out to eat. They are loud and rambunctious. She can’t enjoy her meal and is totally flustered by the time the whole episode is over. My wife and I aren’t so afraid. We’re also older and more mellowed out.

We have taught our grandsons to say the blessing before meals, so when our food arrived the oldest piped up that he was going to say the blessing. At this point, all the two-year-old can get out is “God is.” Did I mention that they were loud? And they were. His blessing was loud enough for every waiter, waitress, cook, patron, and manager to hear. I asked him to say it quieter. He obeyed, but had to start over again. Then he had to start over again because I didn’t have my hands folded properly. By the time he was through, everyone’s food had been blessed whether they wanted it to be or not.

I was soon embarrassed for another reason: that I had asked him to say it quieter. He wasn’t ashamed to let anyone or everyone know he loved God and was thankful for the food God provided. My blessings are normally so low the person in the next booth would have to strain to hear. My grandson was doing a better job of letting his light shine than I do.

Levi was doing what Jesus instructed His followers to do: letting his light shine. The light that proclaimed he loved God. The light that proclaimed he was thankful. No doubt others saw his light. Hopefully, some thanked God that we had taught him to give thanks to God for the food.

Letting our lights shine isn’t about us. There is a purpose, but it’s not so others will pat us on the back. Our shining lights should be shined with the intention that others will come to know the God we serve. After all, He is the one who gives us the courage and power to let our lights shine. Jesus said if we deny Him He will deny us before the Father. Personally, I’d rather be accepted by the Father.

Let your light shine brightly before others. Never be ashamed of the One who gave His life for you.