I am not known for clean cars. I like a clean car but most of the time my car looks like a piece of discarded lent parked between the lines. The other day one of my sons said, “Dad, I need some money. What can I do to earn a few dollars?” (there is no point in trying to guess which son I am talking about since both of them always need money. I was the same way at their age) “Wash my car,” was my response, “and I’ll give you ten bucks.” In fairness I should have paid them a hundred considering how dirty the car was.
Like I said, I like a clean car but most of the time it looks used. This may go back to the days when I owned a pick-up. It stayed on the muddy side. Imagine as your pastor a muddy pickup parked outside of the church. Well, three other congregations suffered the indignity of my truck that was better suited to be parked outside of a honky-tonk instead of a church. Rarely was it seen in public clean because my philosophy was that only yuppies have clean pickups. It was true that my vehicle was not the sharpest in a funeral procession, but most of the time I rode with the funeral director, because my heater never worked.
While I must apologize to you, my faithful congregation, that my car stays dirty more than it does clean, I make no apologies or excuses for any member who chooses to keep their truck burnished with thick layers of Georgia clay. Besides, trucks are supposed to look used. That is what they are for.
At the end of the day I believe we are suppose to look a little used too. Woe to the one who goes through life clean as a whistle, never dirtying their hands with the “stuff of life.” We are put here to get used up in the service of others. I love the image in John’s gospel where Jesus takes off his “party jacket” and roles his sleeves up to wash feet. In an age of antiseptic gel and SUVs that have never seen a dirt road, Jesus seems to be saying if you want to follow me – get dirty.
Do something with your faith today: forgive an enemy, love a stranger, give to someone without them knowing it.
Grace and peace,