Keep Your Apron Messy

washing_feetI was driving home and praying about ministry and life in general a few days ago…thinking specifically about the tension between keeping a clean, righteous heart before God and, at the same time, being out in the world, loving people and getting into their space, so to speak.  I don’t really know how else to put that, actually.  But I find that a lot of Christians take a very harsh stand on what they think is worldliness, but often turns out to be people.  Just…people.  They’re not willing to call people who don’t believe what they believe Friends…so they’ll either call them acquaintances or “friends” (with the quotation marks included)…that is, if they’ll associate with them at all.  Jesus, however, wasn’t the acquaintance of the sinner.  He didn’t participate in sin, but he truly cared for – loved! – people who didn’t love him back.  He’s still doing that.


There are two very obvious extremes we can default to as Christians living in a fallen world with a purpose.  1. We can tend toward worldliness and lukewarm indifference when we care more about being cool than reaching out (forgetting the reason for relevance) or 2. We can be a pharisitical, self-righteous bunch who make sure the outside of the cup is clean, forgetting that it’s what’s inside that matters.  Which is worse?  It’s debatable, I’m sure; but that’s not my point here.


So as I was thinking and praying and trying to formulate succinct, direct thoughts (because I need “one-liners” for myself, to remind me of the lessons learned in prayer).  And God gave me this thought, or prayer rather, which has invaded my thoughts daily:


“God, keep my heart pure but my apron messy.  I chose to live in the center of what you’re doing in the earth.”


We have to be able to find that balance.  We have to stop treating the world as untouchable, but at the same time keep our hearts from being contaminated by wrong thinking.  How do we get there?  Well, for one thing, very simply, we need to be searching the Word of God and being daily filled with God’s presence.  As Patrick puts it, “we leak” and we need to keep coming back to get filled up.  The daily grind can take it out, ministry definitely takes it out, kids…don’t get me started on kids.  I love my kids, but they keep me on my knees.  (which is a very good thing.)  🙂


Don’t stop seeking personal holiness – purity in mind, body and spirit.  But don’t forget Purpose.  Love is tenacious.  Love pursues, even when it’s being snubbed or ignored.  Love bears burdens.  And Love actively seeks that which is lost.


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