I walked into the kitchen. The dirty dishes area of the counter was empty. What a lovely sight.
My husband had washed the dishes last night while I dried them.
I knew the dishwasher was nearing full. It would need running before too long, but for now those dirty dishes waited neatly arranged in the dishwasher. They would be taken care of soon.
I glanced at the clock. Time to make supper.
Having checked that my toddler was happily engaged making her own supper with her toy food, I fetched my rice cooker, filled it, and turned it on.
Next, I pulled out a frying pan and an onion.
Locating my favourite knife, I set to work.
Before long I had ground beef and onion sizzling away. I chopped up a couple of bell peppers to add.
That done, I carried the knife and cutting board to the dirty dishes counter. So much for that counter being empty.
My toddler was getting restless by now, so I asked her to help.
“Can you find a can of pineapple for me?”
She hurried to the can cupboard and scoured it.
I turned to my recipe and pulled out a measuring cup and measuring spoons.
Turning around, I found my daughter reaching into a drawer.
“You must be looking for the can opener.”
I handed it to her.
She hurried back to where she’d left the can of pineapple.
I followed, knowing I’d only have a moment before she gave up trying on her own and pleaded for help.
Sure enough… “Mama, help.”
“Okay, I’ll help you. Bring the can to the table first.”
We twisted the can opener together until the can opened. Then I set the can and can opener on the counter out of reach.
“Now I need soy sauce. Can you get it for me?”
Being in a favorable mood, my toddler soon set the soy sauce on the table.
“Thank you! Now I need the vinegar.”
As she trotted off in search of vinegar, I measured soy sauce into my measuring cup. It finished up what was left in the soy sauce container. Setting the empty container in the dirty dishes area to rinse later, I wrote soy sauce on the shopping list.
Calls of “Mama help,” came from the pantry.
I turned to find my little one stretching for the heavy vinegar jug, but unable to reach it.
“You found the vinegar. Here, I’ll get it.”
That done, I returned to the pantry for the brown sugar and cornstarch.
Upon spotting the sugar, my toddler climbed on a chair and grabbed a measuring spoon.
I reached for the spoon, but too late. It was already in her mouth.
“Next time you need to wait until after I use the spoon to lick it. Now I need to get a new measuring spoon.”
I set the licked spoon in the growing dirties pile and pulled out a new one.
I added the rest of the ingredients to the measuring cup, saving the sugar for last. I then passed her the spoon.
As my toddler perched happily licking the sugar spoon, I poured the sauce into the frying pan.
I paused in the unusual moment of quiet to survey the kitchen. So much for it being tidy.
I set to work putting dirty measuring spoons by the sink and returning the ingredients to their proper homes. I grabbed the dishcloth to give the table a good wipe.
Having finished licking the spoon, my toddler pulled at my leg. “Mama come. Play.”
I glanced at the dirty dishes pile that had sprung up. The pots and pans from supper would likely join the stack before I got to washing any of them. Oh well…
I turned to my toddler. “Okay, I can come play for a little while, but then supper will be ready and it will be time to eat.”
Why do I share this story with you? Because I want to share one of my go-to recipes with you? No.
Rather, because I found myself thinking about dirty dishes recently.
Dirty dishes. Don’t we love them?
Some days it seems there is a never ending stream of dirty dishes to be washed.
Dirty dishes are a by-product of life when you cook and eat at home.
Where’s the allegory?
The allegory is this: in my regular everyday life, there comes a buildup of dirt or wear and tear. Jesus wants to wash it away for me. Am I taking the time to bring those things to Jesus so that He can wash me clean?
Let me expand further.
In my regular, reasonable daily life, just as the dirty dishes seem to be a continual stream, so there is dirt that shows up in my spiritual life.
Regularly, I must stop and take the time to wash the dishes. Then, for a short time, the dirty dishes counter will be clean and empty.
Likewise, I must regularly stop and take the time to meet with Jesus asking that He wash me afresh.
Some of this dirt is from the times I let my sinful nature take over. Some of it is simply from life’s wear and tear – the discouragement and hurts that a day can bring.
What do I do with this dirt?
I like the way Paul puts it in Philippians 4:6-7:
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (CSB)
When I am weighed down with anxiety, Jesus wants me to bring that to Him.
When I’ve had a hard day, Jesus wants me to bring that to Him.
When my heart is aching, Jesus wants me to bring that to Him.
When I’ve fallen into sin, Jesus wants me to bring that to Him.
Once a week at church is not enough. I need Jesus to wash and refresh me daily.
Once a day is not enough. I need to join the hymnist in singing, “I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord.”
If you haven’t heard the song before, I highly recommend you take a moment to listen to it.