It's almost back to school time. I can hear the groans of the teachers and students across the country, and the collective sighs of relief from parents everywhere. Unless you're the parent of a college student. Those are the parents who, if they've spent any length of time with their adult children this summer, are dreading the resurgence of feelings that they experienced when they dropped little Riley or Little Claire off at kindergarten.
Back to college always means new adventures;
new apartments, new roommates, and furniture (notice I left the "new" part out there!). Recently, I visited my son's new college pad. On the outside it appeared very nice – much nicer than the slum holes I lived in during college! As he opened his garage door, I was reminded that indeed it was definitely home to a bunch of college young men. Through the maze of stored furniture, clothes, beds, scooters and Lord knows what else, they had successfully created a walking path. We shuffled through the clutter towards the entry door and then it hit me… an unimaginable stench. This was not your ordinary garbage or dead animal stink. This was of a much more putrid source, but what in the world was it?! I'm talking the kind of smell that immediately elicits the gag reflex. Upon further investigation, my son found the culprit – there was a green slime oozing from the bottom of a dorm sized refrigerator that had been stored in the garage all summer. Apparently, the unit had not been cleaned before storage, nor had the door been left open to allow it to air out. Couple those facts with 100+ degree humid summer temps and you can almost smell for yourself the level of disgusting!
As most moms would, I summoned for cleaning cloths to wipe away the stream of sludge on the garage floor. As I bent down to wipe it up, I nearly passed out from the noxious gas infiltrating my nostrils. I wiped the green slime as quickly and thoroughly as possible without losing consciousness. I backed away from the refrigerator, looked at my son and said "you have got to get rid of that thing!"
Even if I could've mustered up the will, and a gas mask, to open it up and properly clean it, who in the world would want to use it ever again?! In my eyes, it was damaged goods, hopeless and useless.
However, there was one person who could save it… the one who paid the price for it.
Even though it was an absolute disgusting, raunchy, stinky mess, the owner knew the value and the purpose for it and wasn't going to just throw it away. Yes, it would require opening the door to reveal even more sludge and stench. It would need a serious deep sanitizing. The job would be messy, the smell would be on his hands for hours and require multiple washings, but it would be worth it. The price had already been paid and the owner needed his refrigerator to work. It served a worthy purpose and he wasn't just going to cast it aside and buy a new, nicer, cleaner option.
It occurred to me that this is exactly the way our owner feels about us. Our God created us for a worthy purpose and he paid the price for us through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. While we may feel unworthy, stinky and useless, or we might look at others that way, God reminds us that we are all valuable. We are worth opening up and cleaning out the stinky sludge of our past digressions. He made us for a reason and he would never just throw us away for a newer, cleaner, & stink-free model.
And, to all of you college kids out there… clean out your refrigerators because that's just gross. Not even your mama wants to deal with that mess!
“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted with bad habits. Instead, let the Spirit cleanse your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly good and pleasing to him.”