I pulled out the mayonnaise, the tahini, the Worcestershire and soy sauces, the maple syrup, the sesame seed oil, and the hoisin and was even more appalled. Black rings, sticky smears, and brown drops covered the narrow plastic ledge. I always wipe things off before I put them up, don’t I? Well, maybe not always. Sometimes we’re in a hurry, sometimes my hands are full, sometimes I leave the putting up for someone else. Needless to say, I cleaned that shelf immediately, and the next day the whole refrigerator.
That sort of thing happens far more often than we like to think and in far more important places than refrigerators. Relationships come to mind.
I think wedding anniversaries are important, and not because I am a woman with unrealistic expectations. We have never been able to afford expensive gifts or excursions. Most often we stay at home and have a quiet dinner together. Sometimes it isn’t even on the same day as our anniversary. A long time ago we stopped making the calendar our taskmaster. We celebrate birthdays on weekends, and holidays around work schedules. We have even celebrated our mid-June anniversary in July.
No, the thing about anniversaries is the re-connecting. You talk, you remember, you plan. You remind yourselves why you wound up together in the first place, and the place you want to eventually wind up together for eternity. In doing so every year, or even more often, you get that shelf cleaned up before the stains have a chance to set, before the caked on residue of life builds to the point that only a hard, painful scrub can remove it.
The same thing can happen among brethren. Why do you think God expects us to go to one another instead of letting things fester? Most problems between good-hearted people are simple misunderstandings that can be cleaned up with a quick wipe. You only need harsh abrasives when you let them sit awhile.
When was the last time you checked your relationship with your God? The last time you talked to him? The last time you let him speak to you by opening his Word? When was the last time that communication actually effected a change in you? When did you alter plans for the day or the attitude you presented to your family, or friends, or even perfect strangers because of your relationship with God? Maybe the grunge on your shelf has gotten too thick to penetrate.
Pay attention to the things you seldom think to look at, the things you take for granted. Wipe off your shelves once in a while, whether you think they need it or not.
Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation, Psalm 24:3-5