“Christine, go into the bathroom and check the soap dish. Be sure there isn’t any dirt on the soap or in the dish and certainly no hair!”
We were expecting guests at any minute, and my mother was frantically tidying up our home. Everyone was expected to pitch in. My job always seemed to be the slimy soap.
Our everyday household atmosphere when I was growing up was beyond casual. Oh, we weren’t dirty… just cluttered. Newspapers and magazines and mail scattered around. Clothes to fold… or just use straight from the basket. Meals cooking before the last of the previously used dishes were put away. Might as well just set the table straight from the dishwasher!
But when guests were coming there was a mad scramble to get everything looking neat and tidy. I learned the art of tossing things into closets and behind closed bedroom doors. Mom always took an inventory of which rooms we were keeping “off limits” for a few hours and all of us children were sworn to uphold those barriers!
My mom had another comment about guests, though. It was meant for the times when we were slow to pitch in to help around the house. “You act like you’re a guest around here!” We’d better get going on whatever we were expected to do before she really launched into her sarcastic comments.
Mom also taught us what was expected when we were guests in someone’s home, especially if it was an overnight visit to my friend or cousin. “Be a good guest.” “Pick up after yourself.” “Offer to help.” I’ve passed on those wise comments to my children.
“Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest…” How many times have I prayed that table prayer? Three times a day…. over sixty plus years, I suppose. How many times have I truly welcomed Him as my guest? Not as many, I’m afraid.
Sometimes I’m too worried about what He might see… the dirt and hair on my soap… the clutter I want to hide so my life is ready for Him. Of course if I’m honest with myself, I know those distracting things will just come right back out of the closet or from behind closed doors. If only I wouldn’t put them off limits to Him! I know He could make a huge improvement “straightening up” those messy rooms.
Then again, if He’s really there ALL the time (and He is!) then He knows about my life anyway… the one on display for guests… and the everyday confusion. And He loves me anyway.
Because He’s the perfect guest… the one who came to serve, not to be served.
It’s my scattered life He picks up after, not His.
And best of all… He’s always there... offering to help!