Maybe it’s my inner control freak, but I don’t really like surprises. I prefer to have things figured out, to follow the rules, to know what’s next. Though I highly value creativity, I find it is from order that my creativity is most likely to emerge.
So this week’s Rethink Church question was initially puzzling to me.
Where are you encountering Jesus in the unlikeliest of places?
Where is it unlikely to encounter Jesus? Jesus is in all things and through all things. There’s no surprise here. It seems likely to me that we could encounter Jesus everywhere, in every place.
And there it is.
We could, but will we? Do we? Do I? I cast my net a bit wider and began looking for Jesus in places I may have overlooked him before. So let me apologize right now…
As I was emptying the recycling container and preparing to take the overflowing trash down to the garage, I noticed the litter box needed some attention. As I scooped the poop, it hit me (not the poop, that’s just gross!).
This is what Jesus does.
I mean, no one likes cleaning a litter box. It is gross. It’s smelly. Icky. Generally unpleasant. And nobody wants to mess with the mess. But someone has to. Someone needs to step in and make it fresh again. Someone needs to clean things up. It doesn’t get better if you just ignore it. Trust me, I’ve tried.
Don’t stretch the metaphor too thinly, but deciding to clean the litter box is to model Christ’s love.
The act is a sacrifice. It’s is to think of others. It is to become, a least for a moment, a servant. There is something selfless and humbling about digging through the litter instead of insisting someone else do it or making it a chore for others.
When we got the cat, I swore I wouldn’t be cleaning the litter box.
After seeing Jesus in this act, I’m going to be the first to step in and sift the pellets (we use some weird litter that supposedly works better. Maybe it does?)
Encountering Jesus in a litter box. Maybe not surprising, but certainly not what I was expecting.
I am reminded of something Martin Luther King, Jr. said,
If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’
I didn’t always get that.
I was once asked by an uncle what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said, something about being an astronaut or an engineer. He said, don’t forget the world needs ditch diggers too.
And we need ditch diggers who do their best to dig the best ditches they can dig.
Here’s to the street sweepers. Here’s to the ditch diggers. Here’s to the litter box cleaners (even if they’re slow to realize they are growing in Christ-likeness as they scoop).
Life is better together,
Check out where a couple of my friends have been experiencing Jesus in unlikely places…