As the oldest of six and a mother of six, I have done my share of house cleaning. My hands have scrubbed many a toilet, dusted countless surfaces and mopped more kitchen floors than I’d care to count. Cleaning has never been on my top ten list of “things I like to do”, though it’s a daily reality; but there is one job that always brings a level of satisfaction: vacuuming.
I’ve never minded vacuuming carpet…in fact, I actually like it. There is something rewarding about hearing the little bits of this or that get sucked up into the canister and something downright impressive about looking into that see-through tank at all that was sucked up from just one room of normal living space. But, ultimately, it’s the vacuuming lines that are my favorite. It’s the design that is left on my carpet with every push and pull of the machine, showing me where I have been and what I have accomplished. Those lines make me smile.
And then they are gone.
It may take a couple of hours or a few short minutes but inevitably traveling feet and playful paws turn my craftsmanship back into what it was all along: pieces of thread, woven together, to provide comfort for the feet, warmth on a cold day and a place to trap the debris that accumulated from the junk food we ate during our weekly movie night. And as those lines begin to vanish, I’m amazed how easily my smile vanishes, too. Frustration creeps in as I am reminded of the repetitive realities of cleaning. Housekeeping is a job that is never truly done.
Neither is soul-keeping, though I often treat it a bit like my vacuuming. I check off my “daily reading” box, smiling at the line the pen left as it made its mark. I sit in church taking notes, line upon line, thankful for the gift of hearing the Word and growing in the knowledge and grace of the Lord. I read the lines of 1 John 1:9 with humble hope as I confess my sins with a heart of repentance. I seek to “toe the line” in obedience to the Word of God through serving the body of Christ in various ways. The lines of my life show me where I have been and what I have accomplished, by God’s grace, and they make me smile.
And then a new day dawns and they are gone.
Because a relationship with the Creator of the universe is not a “one and done” reality. We don’t bottle up Jesus during devotions or through a Sunday morning message. We don’t repent once and walk in purity the rest of our days. We don’t serve as though people were a project to be completed and moved on from. A relationship with Christ is not part of our life…He IS our life. Day in and day out we are called to adore Him, to cling to Him, to delight in Him, to confess our sins to Him, to walk in obedience to Him, and encourage and build up others in Him.
Much like housekeeping, soul-keeping is an every day reality. The “lines of our lives” must be daily defined as we seek to glorify the Lord in the “push and pulls” of each day. On the other hand, unlike housekeeping, soul-keeping is also reaping an eternal inheritance that can never be taken away from us. And the lines we are leaving behind produce way more than just temporary satisfaction; they form the designs of a dress, a wedding dress that we will wear for all eternity!
“Hallelujah, because our Lord God the Almighty reigns! Let us be glad, rejoice and give Him glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has prepared herself. She was given fine linen to wear, bright and pure. For the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints.” Revelation 19:6b-8