Follow Jesus by cleaning up the clutter

By DARRYL WOOD / Guest Columnist

On a visit to our church’s weekday preschool, I found one class settling in after a trip to the Vincent library. Simultaneously, the other class prepared to leave for the same destination.

I asked the returning class how the trip went. One three-year-old proudly proclaimed, “We got all the toys out on the floor.

“And we left the mess for the other class to clean up!”

Has anyone ever left a mess for you to clean up? Possibly that mess amounts to more than toys strewn about the floor. For example, some guys brought a paralyzed friend to Jesus. He cleaned up two messes in that man’s life — one spiritual and the other physical.

Jesus first said, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Later, He healed the man, and told him to “pick up your pallet and go home.” (Mark 2:5, 11). Healing the man’s sinful heart prepared him to receive wholeness of body. Jesus saw the mess and cleaned it up.

Jesus challenged His disciples to follow His example of bringing order out of chaos.

Forgiving sins and healing diseases may be beyond your ability. But plenty of clutter remains to be tidied up.

Open your eyes. See the mess a co-worker has made of an important task? Instead of criticizing, jump in and help get things back on track. See the disorder in your friend’s life created by betrayal in a relationship? Instead of gossiping, offer a listening ear to a broken friend.

See the anger seeping out of an ignored child? Instead of closing your eyes to the need, give that child some attention.

Take up the example of Jesus. Find the courage to straighten up the clutter you encounter. So get on your work clothes and scrub away.

The Rev. Darryl Wood is pastor of the First Baptist Church of Vincent.