Monday, February 21, 2011


I am sitting in a room that is remarkably clean. This room is a part of an entire floor of my house that is also remarkably clean. And what may be the most remarkable thing about it is that I am terrible at house cleaning.

I didn't even do it.

Two weeks ago my staff team had a meeting at my house. We finished about an hour early and our director gave a suggestion about what we could do with our extra hour.

"So tomorrow, Ben's girlfriend Andrea is coming to visit and she is going to stay here. And since this is a house where 6 guys live, it might not feel all that 'homie' to her. So I think we could give her a gift and just make the house a little more hostpitable for her."

Everyone seemed to love the idea of spending an hour to clean my house. Everyone except me.

What I heard when our director was making that suggestion was: "Since Ben is a total slob and has no idea how to treat his girlfriend well, we are going to do it for him."

You see, I have lived in this house for 5 years and I have never done any kind of deep clean. I don't even really know how to clean. And if I let all those people clean my house, they would get to see exactly how bad at cleaning I actually was. They would look at the corners and cabinets closets that had never been swept or wiped down.

I was not excited to spend the next hour hearing people comment on how disgusting my house was. And in case you think I am over-reacting, in those five years I lived at the house, I am pretty sure the microwave has NEVER been cleaned.

I felt ashamed and I felt incompetent in front of some of my best friends. I tried to gracefully get out of it. I had to find some way to tell them that they didn't have to do it. But resistance was futile. The idea was already incepted and was taking root and growing.

So I surrendered.

For the next hour, 11 of my friends cleaned the main floor of my house. They swept, scrubbed, dusted, febreezed, vacuumed, uncluttered, and rearranged. They bought flowers and candles. My bathroom was spotless.

But as amazing as it looked and as grateful as Andrea was for it when she saw it, it was something else that really shook me up.

You see, the whole time, no one said anything about how dirty it was. Not a word.

No one commented on how gross the microwave or the stove was.

No one told me I was a slob.

The only thing they did was give me, my housemates and my girlfriend a wonderful gift. And the only thing I could do was receive it.

In short, I encountered grace and it messed me up.

People looked right into the literal mess I had made through my laziness and neglect and ignorance, and did not condemn me for it. They simply offered me a gift.

The reality of the Gospel came flooding into my life in a new way. I was experiencing the Word becoming flesh. I was reminded of how Jesus looks at our sin and disobedience and the mess we have made and offers himself as a gift so it can be made right. And all we can do is receive it and let it change us.

Yes, it was a free gift for me. But it was a gift that I was able to share with people I love. Because of what someone else did, I have something to offer to others.


May you experience the tangible grace of God today. May you be reminded of this amazing gift that has been freely given for you.

1 comment:

  1. I read your comment on Jamie, the Very Worst Missionary, and had to respond there, and then come here and see what you had to say. This happened to me too. You are right-there is nothing like really experiencing grace, and the feeling it leaves you...humbling, terrifying in a way, grateful. Also at the beginning angry at oneself, and the words you used (incompetent, slob, can't treat someone well-and imagine as a wife and mother how I felt). Anyway, I think you are right on about this being a very vivid and tangible experience of grace. I wrote about it, too. Thanks for sharing your story...well-spoken!