When it comes to cooking, there are two ways to do it. There's the make-it-all-and-clean-it-when-you-get-to-it method. Remember the kitchen in The Little Mermaid?
Then there's the clean-as-you-go method. This means as you finish using one product, you put it in the sink, dishwasher or wash it immediately. When you are done with a can, you throw it out on the spot. When part of the counter is cleared, you wipe it down. Even if you're going to need to use it again.
In my kitchen, I subscribe to this method. I try to, at the bare minimum, have all the prep dishes in the sink by the time dinner is ready to serve. I wash my prep bowl multiple times during my cooking rather than dirty another one. I make sure all of the garbage and empties are in the trash. Then, when I'm done with dinner, I only have to clear the table and the actual serving plates.
There seem to be two similar thoughts when it comes to making moral choices, too. Some people figure they ought to do whatever makes them happy, without much regard for the mess it makes along the way. They hold on to the thought that if they aren't hurting anyone, they must be doin' all right. Life is meant to be lived, so live it up! After all, you can fix it all at the end, right? I used to live this way. I didn't worry too much about the future. I did what seemed the most fun and shoved any consequences deep down inside. I enjoyed a lot of experiences. I also made some pretty bad choices, too.
The other half knows the peace of making the best choice the first time. We try to clean as we go. We repent for the big things, and even the little ones, so when we step up to the judgement seat, we don't have quite so much try and clean up at the end of our lives.
Even so, with the best of our efforts, there's still gonna be a mess on the table and the stove. This is where our elder Brother Christ steps in to make such the difference. He's going to be there to help us clear up that last little bit we can't do on our own. There's gonna be someone to help us dry. We don't have to go it alone. We're never gonna be perfect enough to have all of the work done before the meal, but at least we've made a dent in the mess by the time we sit down to eat.
The atoning sacrifice he made for us allows us to practice the clean-as-you-go method of living. We don't have to feel soiled and dirtied by life. We don't have to feel mired down by the mess. We don't have to wake up the next day with a chore already on the list.
At any point along the way, we can lay our weaknesses before him and he will make us whole. Even if we've made a huge mess and just now finally see how deep we are, he is eagerly waiting for us to ask for his help. Sure, there are some rules for our protection and safety associated with this type of living. Just like with the dishes, you gotta practice some discipline. You have to prepare a little bit more. You have to have an empty trash, dish soap, and a scrub brush. You have to be willing to do the work up front. But, the peace of sitting down to the meal in a mess free kitchen is well worth the sacrifice. The peace of laying your head down at night knowing you've done all you can do and have trusted in Christ to help you make up the rest is well worth the simple rules that we're asked to follow.
How grateful am I to know I have a partner in this life who will always show up to dry? Who will tell me good job for the small efforts I make? Who won't ever complain about the dishes in the sink because he knows I've done all I can do? Who will praise the meal I've worked so hard to make and then willfully stand by my side at the end of a long night to make sure things are completely cleaned up and perfect?
I owe my life to this man.
And I can't wait for the day when we stand shoulder to shoulder at the sink.