Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sometimes it takes getting on your knees to see all the dirt clearly

Several years ago one of the ladies at church gave me a Ziploc bag of Amish Friendship Bread “starter.” She beamed and clucked about all the different varieties she had made. Some with peaches, some with nuts, coconut, bananas, and a variety of other yummies. I could tell she had been having a fun with this bread (actually, to me it’s more like cake).

For the record, I am not a baker. The extent of my baking skills ends with canned biscuits and Martha White muffin mix packets. This woman’s joy, however, was contagious so I took the Ziploc bag with gratitude and high hopes for that same kind of joy.

The starter is supposed to stay in the bag for 10 days. During that time, there are certain days you’re supposed to add more ingredients. The other days you simply knead the bag. On day 10, you mix in some more ingredients, then measure out four more starter bags to give your friends. With the mixture that is left, you add more ingredients and then bake it. Voila, delicious bread (aka cake).

With the busyness of life, I lost track of where I was in the 10-day cycle for the bag she gave me. I couldn’t remember if I was on an add-ingredient day or a knead day. I finally gave up and threw it in the garbage. I was a little embarrassed and defeated.  I hoped the friend who shared it with me had forgotten about it too.

The next time I saw her, she asked about it and I had to come clean. She was still excited about the whole project and very gracious, offering to bring me another starter bag. Which she did, only this time she brought it to me on Day 9. All I had to do was bake it the next day.

That next day was busy and I didn’t get started on the baking process until late in the day, but I wasn’t going to bed until this bread was warm and toasty. I hurried through the pre-bake steps and saved the cleanup until it was in the oven.

As it baked, I washed the mixing bowls and measuring cups and wiped down the counter. Then I noticed a drip of batter on the lower cabinet, so I bent down to reach it. Once I bent down, I noticed some flour on the floor. I got down on my knees with a Clorox wipe to get the flour up off the floor.

As I knelt there on my knees, I saw a few coffee ground specks that had fallen to the floor who knows when. On my knees, I saw a dried up drip of who-knows-what staining the white cabinet door under my sink. On my knees, I noticed tiny crumbs collecting in the corners of the floor that I couldn’t see when I was standing upright. On my knees, I saw the dust and dirt on the baseboards under the cabinets. On my knees, I saw the nasty dirt stains on my floor.

On my knees.

That’s when it dawned on me. Sometimes it takes getting on my knees to really see my own dirt clearly. All the stuff that’s messed up about my life, all the bad choices I’ve made, the responsibilities and opportunities I’ve ignored, failures due to my own stupidity, all the stuff I want to hide — when I get on my knees before Jesus, He shows me these things more clearly than ever before. He brings them to my attention to remind me that what I need to do about them is simply admit they are mine. Then give them to Him.

When I get on my knees before Jesus, my perspective changes. Not only do I see how big my pile of dirt is, I also see that great big pile as a measurement of the amount of forgiveness He has for me.

I can’t see it that clearly when I’m standing on my own two feet.

Only on my knees.

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

This was originally posted December 4, 2016 on

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