I am trying desperately to do some major cleanup around the ranch this summer. It helps that I have two capable teenage daughters who need a job. So the three of us have stripped stalls, cleaned the hay barn, organized the tack room, swept the shop building, sorted out closets, weeded flower beds, and any other project we can manage. Amazing how things get out of hand and how nice it is when it’s organized!
Yesterday, we tackled the outdoor kitchen. Roger and I had a cabana and outdoor kitchen built about 5 years ago. They have been great for hosting the church youth group, volleyball teams, family parties, two wedding receptions and countless evenings enjoying the firepit. We have loved the space! But, over time, the cabinets have been neglected and needed a good cleaning out. They were so bad we haven’t been using them! The first cabinet we opened was not encouraging…note the nice snake skin! I am proud to say the job is done and we were relieved not to have met the original owner of the skin!
Yesterday’s summer cleanup project reminded me of a recent Bible lesson in my elementary class. In Matthew 23:25-26, Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees for being more concerned about outside appearances than the heart of a person:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”
Jesus goes on to say they were like “whitewashed tombs. Beautiful on the outside but the inside full of dead men’s bones.” (or nasty snakeskins) The outside of the cabana looked great but behind the closed cabinet doors was a mess!
We spend a lot of time on the outside of our bodies. Grooming and primping and dressing ourselves. Let’s not neglect the inside of our “cup.” Our hearts and minds need a good sweeping once in awhile.
A chance to renew our minds and refresh our spirits.
A summer cleanup to make room for what matters most. “…to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but
be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—-His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1b-2.
Renewing your mind and spirit may include:
- More quiet time in prayer
- Getting up earlier to study the Bible or take a walk
- Renewing your commitment to church attendance
- A weekend with your family (no phones allowed)
- Prioritizing down time as “Important”
- Sitting around the table for family meals
A good summer cleanup takes work; but it’s always worth the effort. It feels so good!
I would love to hear from you…how do you “recharge” your batteries? What’s weighing you down or when do you feel most “transformed?” How do you renew your mind and spirit?