Towards the beginning parts of last week, our office staff suffered a major blow to morale. The refrigerator had unknowingly taken a casualty. A perfectly fine, full, and delicious can of Coca-Cola had exploded inside. The sweet elixir covered the entire inside of the refrigerator. The culprit completely saturated all the other waters, cans, shelves, and walls within. How could this have happened?! What could we have possibly done differently to avoid such calamity? It just so happens that with older refrigerators, you must defrost them from time to time. Due to the quarantine and the nation-wide pandemic, no one had taken the time to maintain the refrigerator. Slowly, over a few months, the entire backside of the refrigerator had been getting more and more caked with ice. This led to the conditions becoming colder and colder for the refreshments inside the fridge. Because we had not maintained it as we should have, a truly incredible mess was made. This just goes to show how INVALUABLE our office staff LADIES are; had they been aware of this problem, all would have been well.
Looking back, I fully remember seeing the ice block growing bigger and bigger as the quarantine progressed. However, I did not know the damage that could be done by doing nothing. So there we were, looking at the terrible mess and not knowing where to even begin. We knew we had to do something because other cans were becoming disfigured and would ultimately succumb to the same fate. So, I took the refreshments out of the refrigerator, brought them to the sink, and washed off all the remaining Coke that had spilled on them. Then I took the fridge outside to defrost. After that, my fellow co-worker and I cleaned the inside walls and shelves thoroughly and brought it back inside.
Maintenance is not fun. It is not enjoyable to take time out of your daily life to maintain the things around you. Sometimes thoughts of, “Well, someone else will do that,” keep us from taking proper care of the things around us. When this happens… accidents, messes, and disasters occur. Have you ever delayed getting new tires just one day too many? We have all been in situations where we completely ruin an entire day because of our procrastination. It is then that we look back and think, “Man, if I had just done the proper maintenance on this thing in the first place…” Maintenance might not be something we look forward to, but it is undoubtedly a VITAL part of our lives.
This all got me to thinking about SPIRITUAL MAINTENANCE, and whether I was putting anything off in that area of my life. During the year where we were all looking forward to having “2020 Vision,” it has been easy to become much more blind than we ever were before. With all that is going on AROUND us, have we become guilty of neglecting what is happening INSIDE of us? The same way that the refrigerator was overlooked, and a terrible mess was made… is it possible many of us have become blind to our spiritual deficiencies?
Spiritual maintenance is supposed to be a daily focus of a Christian. Unfortunately, so many times in our lives, we feel like as long as we SEEM okay, then we ARE okay. In actuality, that could not be further from the truth. Jesus, in His epic discourse on the Pharisees, said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also,” Matthew 23:25-26. During this pandemic, we all have been separated from one another. We still have been able to worship God, study God’s Word, and grow in that way… however, many of us have missed the edification that comes from the brotherhood and sisterhood we have in Christ. Perhaps because of that, we have let some things go unchecked in our spiritual lives that need to be maintained.
If we are not actively maintaining our spiritual lives, we are destined to make a terrible mess of ourselves. Maybe these spiritual problems are things we are not aware of. Or perhaps these are issues we are privy to. Either way, if we do not take the time to “cleanse the inside of the cup and dish,” we are bound for the same hypocrisy. The office refrigerator was a nuisance to clean up; there was no pleasure in taking care of the problem. It is the same in our spiritual lives sometimes. It is not fun to fix the issues we have with doubt, worry, lust, and sin. However, we MUST take the time to maintain our souls. If we do, we will save ourselves from ruining a whole lot more than just a day or two. We will save ourselves from ruining an eternity with the Creator of the universe.
-Ben Hogan, Minister of Evangelism