Cobie-Clean by Ward Slager
For Monday, November 7, 2011
Today’s Readings: 2 Kings 20; Hebrews 2; Hosea13; Psalm 137, 138
Hebrews 2:3a How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?
When I was a teen, I had a friend (well, he’s still my friend), Dennis. Dennis’ Mom, Cobie, was a “Dutch housewife.” If you’ve ever visited the Netherlands and driven, especially, through the small rural towns, you,ve seen the incredible order, tidiness that seems to be genetic in the Dutch, as though their 11th Commandment is “Thou shalt keep thy house clean” or Proverbs included “Cleanliness IS godliness (not just “next to” it). When Dennis and I roomed together as Freshman in college, one of the rules of our room was to keep things “Cobie-clean.” Frankly, it was and is a blessed way to live. You may respond “you can have too much of a good thing” implying that such living can be unhealthy or obsessive . . . but that’s not what being Cobie-clean was and is. We have an orderly God. Just look at Creation. We have been given dominion, stewardship over many blessings in His Creation. How could we neglect, then, such great blessings? Such striving to see that not one thing in the order of daily living is neglected, is, I think, one of the good things, the good work we have been given to do – arising from God’s intention before man’s fall. Adam tended the Garden of Eden.
Even today, my wife, also a “Dutch housewife,” is similar to Dennis’ Mom. They are both Proverbs 31:27 women, whose “Cobie-clean” ethic “looks well to the ways of her household” and for which, I and our children do rise up and call her “Blessed!” (31:28).
Yet, we all experience how easy it is to excuse neglect. “I just didn’t have time to dust the shelves before our guests came.” “The faucet’s been dripping like that for years . . . it’s just a little water, no big deal.” “I know I should have changed the oil more often but, well, I just didn’t . . . is that so bad?” Most often, it is so easy to overlook such neglect that it becomes invisible to us and the popular proverb, “Out of sight, out of mind,” though not intended as a compliment, is treated as though it condones our neglect and releases our consciences from guilt.
From minor signs like dog fur, shed and collected way back under the refrigerator to major signs such as homes where tension fills the air with silence that can be cut with a knife or churches where seating on a Sunday morning reflects more dislike than love, negligence in life’s details can have life-destroying consequences. Such neglect can result in what I call “’If-only” regrets. “’If-only I hadn’t _______ - this wouldn’t have happened. If only I had smoked that first cigarette, I wouldn’t have _______. If only we had sat down and talked, we wouldn’t have _______. If only I had listened when my mother (father, pastor, etc) said _______. If only I had exercise more. If only . . .
Such neglect is, perhaps, most glaring and, yet, most invisible to you and I in the life of our spirits. Cobwebs collect in our minds when they are not being conformed to Christ though the spiritual disciplines – prayer, fasting, meditation on the Word, worship, etc. Soon, so much dust has settled on our souls, our hearts are suffocating, far from Cobie-clean.
As we begin another week after what (for me and I pray for you) was a blessed weekend of worship, let’s not neglect our great Savior who has given us at the cost of His life, our great Salvation.
C. S. Lewis said that every step of our way on the path of life is either towards Heaven or towards Hell . . . we cannot neglect or escape the consequences of either direction. Let’s “escape” toward Heaven, asking for and trusting God to recreate in us Cobie-clean hearts which gleam from the reflection of His grace and glory. Take time each day to listen as God speaks to you in Spirit (prayer) and Truth (His word).
Creator, Spirit, by whose aid, the world’s foundations first were laid – renew a right spirit within us, removing every hindrance of apathy and neglect so that our passion flames and our delight in you displays clean hearts