Today was the day to crawl deep into the recesses of the refrigerator. The gunk on the shelves was becoming visible and the room on the shelves was all but gone. I've seen worse, but those refrigerators are not ones I'd be pulling a snack (or anything else to eat) out of. Cleaning out the refrigerator is one of those jobs which creep up on us. Eventually you just have to break down and do it.
I'll go through from time to time and do a partial-cleaning. You know, pull out stuff that is moldy or isn't going to be ever consumed by a human being. It takes almost no decision-making skill to toss out shriveled strawberries or tubs of margarine with only a trace of oleo inside. You also have to have a strong stomach for some of these leftovers. When I do it myself, I sometimes find myself singing (to the tune of Bringing in the Sheaves):
Cleaning out the 'fridge.
Cleaning out the 'fridge.
I am just disgusted,
Cleaning out the 'fridge. . .
You get the idea. When this job is a family effort (read: Mom and Dad), my job is essentially Vice President of Gross and Unidentifiable Food Removal. That was my position today. And it was relatively easy this time around. Some old pineapple chunks which had been shoved back into a corner. A couple of moldy bagels and a few mostly-empty jars were about all we came up with. Nothing with large fuzzy chunks floating in a gravy-like substance. No fruit which could be crushed by even the lightest of touches. Mostly it was an organizational effort today.
My wife likes to scold the kids (well, OK, mostly me) about standing there with the refrigerator door open, searching for something to eat. Most times we're told to stop standing there and get something. Of course I'm looking around to see if I can find something, but with the wifely warning I end up taking the first thing I can reach. Yet today her complaint was about all the things which spoiled near the back of the shelves. Now I have an excuse for standing there looking -- I'm checking the back of the shelves so we don't waste food!
The fact that we need to clean out the refrigerator is, in itself, an indictment on us. We are wasteful. I'll plead guilty to being wasteful. I'm not a fan of leftovers. Well, not exactly. I'm not a fan of eating the same meal two or three days in a row. Spoiled, I am. So food which hungry people everywhere -- not just the starving children in China --- would be happy to eat gets tossed in a Hefty bag and carried to the trash bin. How abundantly we are blessed and how foolish we are with the blessings we've been given.
What becomes even more of an indictment is that we need to continually clean out our lives as well, but we are so reluctant to do so. Somewhere among the back shelves of our hearts is the spot where resentment has grown rotten. Old sinful habits get pushed to the back, pulled out again and shoved back again. Some of those sins are right there in the center of the top shelf. Amazingly, the jug of lust doesn't seem to run dry. The containers filled with materialism never seem to be depleted. The carton of selfishness is full to overflowing. The package of pride looks almost new. Mustering up the courage to do a little cleaning is such a tough thing to do. But it's what God wants from us. Or should I say commands us.
If you are anything like me you struggle with the stuff in the refrigerator of our life. Like a dieter on a cheating binge, we know that stuff is in there when we get the chance to indulge. God wants it cleaned out, chucked into the trash and hauled to the landfill. Yet still we let the contents stink up our personal walk with Christ. All for stubbornness. Or is it independence?
It's the time your refrigerator is at its messiest that you kind of wish the light wouldn't come on when the door opens so no one can see the condition of the interior. But Jesus is the light. He sees the putrid stuff you've kept crammed in the corner. And He wants it gone.
The good news is: He's willing to do it for you.