Caked. in. mud.
Oh yeah, yesterday had been a fun day in the backyard.
The child was in distress over his pair of disasters, but the fixer-upper mother snatched the sneakers and got to work. Grabbing the only tool in reach, a butter knife, I set to work over the garbage can, gouging the mudpies and soccer steals and all other manners of fun things out of the crevices of his treads.
It wasn't my first time, of course. I've done this stuff a lot. Enough that perhaps by now I can feel kind of... put upon. Leave it up to mom. Old Faithful. Tride and True there to clean up the mess after everyone's had their good times.
I didn't have time to think of that at the moment.
All I thought was shake the dust from your feet. If people don't receive your testimony, if they reject the Word of God you proclaim, shake off the dust and hit the road. But that didn't echo the message in my heart.
How about if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. There's a lot of gouging going on here and if I'm finding my soul's tread gunked up by indiscretions, I should get to gouging before I go transgressing on other people's lives. True enough, but still not quite what I had in mind.
Then I found it. Hebrews 12:1-3~
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
My son is fleet of foot and quick to run when given the chance. How many times have we watched kids run carefree and spoken the old "wish I had their energy" adage? I know someday he will slow down like the rest of the world, but I pray his spirit never does. The grimy sin clings so closely, burrowing its way into the treads of our lives, slowing our hearts. Slowing our witness. The steps becoming heavy and burdened. If only there was some way to be free of the junk.
I believe we're all equipped with butter knives, and not just for our own lives- but for those of others. What if we took our spreaders into the lives of others, not to dig for and eradicate their sin as though the planks in our own eye don't impair our vision, but to help others look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith? He doesn't say my faith, but our faith. We're surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses for a purpose. What an amazing passage about the role of community in focusing followers on the founder.
It's a mom thing- scraping out the muddy duds, but also being acutely aware of how the sin that clings so closely to myself and my family is slowing us down. Not so we can be "better" and "faster" by human standards. Not so we can try really hard only to be discouraged when we trip and fall. But so that we can be free, and in that freedom find the fleet in our feet to race after the Savior, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
The joy that was set before Him. I guess when the wilderness wandering gets weary, that's when we get to look at the What and the Whom that is before us.
The Promised Land with the Promised One.