I parked my vehicle and jumped out. “This is sweet,” I thought to myself. “I’ll get my paycheque deposited before I start work for the day.”
As I round the front of my vehicle and step up on the curb my eyes see it. I couldn’t avoid seeing it because of its size and location. There it sat, three feet in front of me, an inch or two in height and covering an area just slightly larger than a sheet of paper. “Whoa, what is that?” I wondered.
THE SURPRISE DEPOSIT
Challenging me to proceed was a decently sized pile of a gooey brown substance with lighter matter distributed throughout.
“Ewwww, a big ol’ pile of vomit! That’s gross!” I thought to myself. In order to avoid getting a whiff of sourness and then subsequently creating another pile myself, I buried my nose into the inside elbow of my jacket and stepped around it to get to the doors. I grabbed a hold of the door and gave it a tug. As I did, I lifted my head thinking I was safe. “Hello, there’s some more!” A much smaller pile was taunting me from the carpet in the lobby space between the two sets of doors. I stepped over it and proceeded to the ATM to deposit my cashola.
“Sheesh!” As I was punching the ATM buttons, I wondered who the owner of this deposit was and exactly what prompted it’s leaving. Another early morning banker? A street entrenched person? Perhaps they were sick? Maybe something they were indulging in last night didn’t agree with their system?
No matter! Regardless of how it got there, it now needed to be cleaned up before many more staff started showing up for work and customers started arriving to do their banking. Vomit is bad for business. Good thing there’s a janitor.
Ya… the janitor. I saw her on the other side of the sliding accordion style glass wall hard at work. I wonder what the janitor thinks of piles of vomit? I wonder if she grumbles as she scoops, scrubs and mops or if she just carries on and gets the job done?
Tell ya what. If I’m brutally honest with you, if I were her I think I’d probably be a little put off at having to clean up that mess. I’d likely feel a little annoyed and think negative thoughts about who the culprit was and how it happened. Just sayin’.
Believe it or not, the bible actually talks about vomit! Jesus discusses it when teaching religious folks, intrigued crowds and his followers about what makes them unclean or polluted and in need of God’s grace and help in their lives. He says all their thoughts, attitudes, words and behaviours that are contrary to God’s design and intent are like vomit that’s been puked up out their inner being (Mark 7:14-23 and Matthew 15:16-20). There’s good news though cuz God doesn’t just leave people in that mess. He’s in the business of cleaning up the mess/vomit of people’s lives by capturing and transforming the source – their heart. He does this by way of the Holy Spirit but he also invites us to join with him in the vomit clean up as his hands and feet.
Jesus also talks elsewhere in the bible around this theme of other people’s lives and how we are to live ours. In Matthew 20:28 and Matthew 23:1-12 Jesus calls out Christians who talk a good talk but don’t actually live it out. In doing so, he urges his disciples to quit wanting to be like the religious fake Christians but instead humble themselves and be servants. And in a profound experience with them where he washes their feet (John 13:17) he makes it clear that he assumed a servant posture and invited and expected them (and by default – you and me) to follow his lead.
The Word is talking. Take last place. Be a servant. Be a slave.
As I hear Jesus describing how we’re meant to live our faith using those metaphors of slave and servant, it’s easy for my modern day North American mind to visualize them being played out with a janitor as the main character. A janitor… kinda like the lady I recently noticed.
I’ve been wrestling through this ‘incident’ for a couple weeks now. As I’ve wrestled through my thoughts and God’s word it’s stirred up some questions that I think are worth sharing with you for consideration/discussion.
- What are the ‘servant’ type roles (opportunities) in our community? Churches? Homes?
- How many Christians are serving without grumbling(or being thanked/acknowledged/appreciated) in these ‘servant’ type roles?
- Do we really understand the depth of humility and lowering of ourselves that’s required to be servants?
- What will be required of us in working alongside God in the mess of people’s “vomit” (not real vomit but the mess of their lives that Jesus describes in Mark 7:14-23 and Matthew 15:16-20)? Are we prepared to ACTUALLY do that?
Almost stepping in a huge pile of stinking vomit isn’t what has bothered me most about this whole event. The thing that’s really gripped me are the thoughts God’s Spirit is stirring up in me combined with the ancient scriptures.
I hear Jesus calling from the pages of the bible “If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it — and live a blessed life.”
Hmmm… act like it. A janitor hey? God… help me. Please