Let’s make some personal applications to your life from last weeks blog… Too many of us waste our time looking for a “clean barn.” We want a job that gives us fulfillment, we want a marriage that is constant romance and bliss, we want children that never make a mess, or parents that always give us what we want. But let me tell you, the “clean barn” is a myth. All families have problems. All jobs are unpleasant sometimes. Life is messy! Instead of longing for the clean barn we need to look for ways to fill the barn we’ve been given.
Have you read Erma Bombeck’s book: “The grass is greener over the septic tank”? That’s really true. (I used to live in a place with septic lines. You could always tell where they were by the line of taller, greener grass over the septic line.) The point is a productive life is a messy life. You might even have to resort to accepting something that is a bit smelly and messy — like an ox — in order to really make progress in life.
Maybe we should all make a resolution to be thankful for our messy tasks – the car that needs an oil change, the dishes than need to be washed, the diapers that need to be changed. Every messy job you have to do this week proves one thing. It proves you’re alive and well, and living on planet earth. Matthew 24:46-47 tells us “It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth; he will put him in charge of all his possessions.” Part of watching for the return of Christ means completing the tasks — big and small, clean and messy — that the Lord has given us to do. That is the good servant, who will be ready when the Master returns.
I think the barn of Proverbs 14:4 can also be a symbol of the church. It’s human nature to want the church to be a constant “sanctuary” — a place of peace, tranquility, and beauty. We want the services to be smooth and perfect. We want the facilities to be attractive and spotless. We want the people to talk in quiet voices and always get along. But that’s just not the way it is in a living and active congregation. Nor is it what God intends. The only way to have a neat, spic-n-span, tranquil, church is to have an empty church. Because PEOPLE (have you noticed) are MESSY.
PEOPLE are the church’s business — because PEOPLE are God’s business. Jesus died so that PEOPLE could have a relationship with Him. Messy, loud, troublesome, PEOPLE. So as God’s servants, we enter into the people business — a business that is sometimes messy, and loud, and frustrating, unnerving, unpredictable, and did I say frustrating? We need patience, long-suffering staying power, a good sense of humor, tons of grace and forgiveness, the ability to like the unlikable, with the Holy Spirit’s guidance — and the Agape love of Jesus; And who knows, maybe even an ox or two.