Wash, rinse, sanitize ( Prayer Devotional for the week of June 21, 2015)

Would you eat at a restaurant that only rinsed off its dishes? What if they washed the dishes with soap and cold water? I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that you would not want to eat at such an establishment. Health codes (and common sense) require that the dishes not only get washed and rinsed properly, but commercial kitchens even have an extra sink basin for sanitizing.

I grew up watching the late Marvin Zindler on Houston’s KTRK Eyewitness News, and seeing one of his exposes on local restaurant violations was enough to make anyone reconsider cooking at home. I remember watching newscasts with my family and hoping that none of the restaurants we frequented were ever on his list of busted facilities. The fact of the matter is, when we sit down to eat at a restaurant, we want to trust not only that the food has been prepared under sanitary conditions, but also that the plate and utensils have been scrubbed free of visible filth and the invisible germs have been cleaned away, as well.

We have high standards when it comes to cleanliness. Or, do we?

In Matthew 23, Jesus went on a rant because the Pharisees were overly concerned about their outward appearance but cared little about what really mattered. In verses 25-26, he told them, “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something” (MSG).

Do we demand sparkling-clean dishes but fail to “sanitize” our own lives from the inside out? Do we serve dinner on perfectly coordinated place settings while our hearts are filled with self-righteousness? Do we keep the silverware polished but have tarnished attitudes? Let’s learn from the Pharisees’ mistakes; let’s not be falsely clean frauds.
(Originally posted February 12, 2012)

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