Thursday, October 04, 2007

So you think you are clean?

I felt very dirty after doing the cleaning job yesterday. The whole night I can't stop thinking that my pair of hands, which make great coffees, play piano, draw paintings, and wash toilets? wipe dirty window seals? It was disturbing for me, don't know why, I could not get over it. How would my arrogant fussy coffee drinker customers think if they know I am a cleaner as well?
Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of a bible passage about Jesus did not wash (his hands I suppose?) before eat dinner with the Pharisees:

Luke 11:37-46

While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at the table. The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. And the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you."

"But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice an the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it."
One of the lawyers answered him, "Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also." And he said, "Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.

And the passage goes on...

I was touched when I see how Jesus reacted (not because he did not wash his hands of course, I always wash my hands). Jesus did not look at the outside, it meant nothing for him whether I am physically clean or not, he looks into my heart. Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees of their filthiness in their hearts, which full of greed and wickedness. Jesus said "You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also?", I guess he was saying that physically cleaniness of the outside does not make the inside clean. Conversely, the filthiness inside a person's hearts will make the whole person unclean as well. I just like the tone that Jesus used, he was so strong and not looking after the "face" of the Pharisees and the lawyers at all.

The reason I put the little lawyers paragraph there because some of my customers are lawyers (modern lawyers different than the lawyers in the bible of course). I do not like particularly one of them because he is always rude and arrogant and thinks himself is so superior. Modern lawyers suppose to help people and bring justice, but I just cannot imagine how can he bring justice if he himself is so arrogant. I just love the way Jesus insulted the lawyers in this passage.

Jesus also said, "But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you." He meant giving away the food within the cup and dish to the poor. A person is cleansed by his good action, which comes from a clean heart.

Therefore I rejoiced, my actions came from a good conscience. I earn my living with my pair of hands so I do not have to depend on anyone. I clean the places so that people would have a clean environment to live in. There is no reason for me to feel sad or lowly, because God is with me. "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?... Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" Hebrews 13:5-8.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Humbling work experience

Today is another humbling experience for me. I was called in to work in the afternoon by my cleaning company boss. I did not know where I was suppose to go to work, but just follow my boss. Then I reached a large fruits and vegetables distribution centre just out of town. The place was absolutely filthy, even my previous house in Malaysia was quite dirty but nothing like that. Boss was helping me cleaning even he was wearing his suit and patiently told me what to do, I really respect him and the way his treat his business. But the place was dirty! Window seals were covered with thick layer of dust and floors are black. Just to mop the floors I had to change the water for 3 times! I had to clean the toilets, mop floors and stairs, vacuum, wipe all the tables and window seals/frames... I was a bit traumatised, by the workload and the filthiness. It is a lesson for me, it humbles me. Other than tired I was surprised I did not feel depressed at all, there is still joy in my heart because what God had taught me last night. :)

Encouragement from God

I challenged myself again with a cup of cappuccino with lunch yesterday at work, therefore I could not sleep until early in the morning. I was wide awake but surprisingly not tired (because I took my newly bought ginkgo pills, multivitamin, and omega 3 fish oil at the same time before sleep). I did not know what to do after tried to sleep for a few times, so I read the bible especially the passage that keep popping up: on Sunday church sermon, monday quiet time and tuesday email sent by a friend.

Phillipians chapter 3:7-4:14

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith - that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like hiim in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Straining Toward the Goal

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one things I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

I meditated on the passage again and again, then I prayed. Firstly, forgetting what lies behind: past failures, traumatic experiences, hurts, rejections, disappointments, guilt... I forgave all the people or ''things''(such as unfair society and NZ immigration) whom hurted me and made my life hard. I forgave family and friends whom does not seem to understand and care about me... and so much more. I gave thanks to God, for the good things and bad things that happened to me. Finally I forgave myself, but not being good enough and failed to glorify God. Secondly, I look forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. So what exactly is this "prize"?

Ephesians 1:3-14

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his wil, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

It was not an easy passage to digest on, but I found a few things to be ''bulleted points" on, my understanding of the spiritual blessings here are:
  • to be holy and blameless
  • adoption as daughter/son through Jesus Christ
  • redemption through his blood
  • forgiveness of our trespasses
  • to know the mystery of his will
  • all together is an INHERITANCE
  • the Holy Spirit is the guarantee
This passage emphasizes predestined, according to his will, so it is God's will that determines that I will have the inheritance or not, not that I can obtain it by my own will and/or effort. Therefore it further proves that I am blessed, I am loved, and I am special not because what I've done, but because God has chosen me.

Thank God for speak to me once again and renewed my mind and attitude. He is indeed faithful and abound in steadfast love. May all praise and glory be to God forever and ever. Amen.