Thursday, December 6, 2018

Getting Down and Dirty - Martin Wiles

When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured, he mobilized the 318 trained men who had been born into his household. Then he pursued Kedorlaomer’s army until he caught up with them at Dan. Genesis 14:14 NLT

“Pop, wash my hands.”

My daughter’s youngest child doesn’t like for his hands to get dirty—unless he’s outside playing in the dirt. Then it’s okay. Otherwise, he wants them washed each time he eats something—which is all day long.

I can’t fuss at him. We taught him this—even though it seems to come quite naturally to him. I remember being the same way as a child. I didn’t like anything on my hands and always wondered if I touched certain things if doing so would hurt me—or even kill me. He hasn’t gotten to that stage yet, but it may come.

My wife and I are still clean freaks—but not nearly as much so as we once were. Age has taken care of many of our peculiarities. Aching backs, throbbing knees, hurting feet, swollen joints. Many things we once wouldn’t think of letting go we now do.

Life contains dirty episodes, and getting dirty comes with them. Abraham had to. His nephew Lot had made a poor choice when they divided the land between them. Taking the choice land toward the wicked city of Sodom, Lot eventually ended up in the city. Then he got caught up in a local war and found himself captured. When Abraham heard the news, he took 318 men and went to secure Lot’s release.

Behind loving Him with our entire beings, Jesus said loving others was the next greatest commandment. But loving others is a messy business because we all have messy lives—some more so than others. It’s not always what we do to ourselves, but what others do to us—or what life does to us. No one wishes for a hurricane, tsunami, flood, bankruptcy, troubled marriage, an unfair boss, or rebellious children. But life happens.

Helping those who experience such things involves us in the mess: disaster relief, counseling, feeding, donating, encouraging, spending time, transporting. All things which inconvenience us, taking us away from things we might rather do. But doing these things puts us in good company. Jesus’ entire ministry was one of inconvenience—continually helping those who hounded Him for assistance.

Doing the Father’s will led Jesus to intersect with others’ messes, and it will us too. Life will dirty us up. Our challenge is loving others enough to help clean them up. 

Find someone whose hands you can wash.

Prayer: Father, lead us to those who are dirtied by life’s messes. Then, give us the love to help clean them up. 

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