By Kevin Swanson
I must tell you the tale of two women. There was the first woman who was very neatly put together. She had inherited three generations of faith. Her great grandmother, her grandmother, and her mother were Christians. She had a very neat life. The furniture was covered, and she hardly ever sinned. The children were placed in boarding schools and she never yelled at them, even once. The pastor never had to deal with her problems. In fact, once or twice he commended her from the pulpit.
But this is a tale of two women, and I must tell you about the other. She had no godly mother or grandmother. Her father was an alcoholic, and, to tell you the truth, she was not so neatly put together.
One day, she brought her children home from school and engaged in a real relationship with them, and let me tell you, it was messy. She yelled at her children, too much. She was afraid they would be permanently damaged by her yelling. At times, she thought maybe they were a little too close to observe her ways.
Her house was often disorganized… although the stacks were neat. She still practiced hospitality. It was new to her, but her husband thought it would be a good idea. Loving strangers? It was hard enough loving her own children! But she did anyway and she did it badly.
Her children gave her their hearts and they did observe her ways. They observed her yelling, her tears of repentance. Yes. They observed her fears that they might pick up her sinful habits. They observed her struggles to overcome her anger, the time she ran into the [bedroom because she was afraid she might say something ugly. They saw it all. They saw it all. And, trust me folks, it was a big mess.
The pastor was not very happy with this woman and her family. They seemed to require more prayer and counsel than anybody else in the church. “VDP’s” he called them. “Very Demanding People.” She would bring the big mess to church with her… and fall on her face and say, “God have mercy on me, a sinner.” But, let me tell you, that woman went home justified!
The moral of the story is simple. God is good. He does really well with big messes, but He doesn’t do as much with those who are so neatly put together.
As Jesus taught us in His parable, it is not how many talents you start with that matters. It is what you do with the 0.2 talents you have received. What really matters are the risks you take, the sacrifice you lay on the altar, the heart molding done by His Spirit, and your willingness to uncover the mess and to remove the layers of plastic, sterile, institutionalized, white-coated plaster. If you would try risking your furniture, your relationships, and your otherwise neat life for Jesus; if you would bring the whole mess to the cross everyday, there you will find indescribable blessing and peace!
This article originally appeared on Kevin Swanson’s blog for Generations radio . We’d encourage you to bookmark his site and listen to his show, which streams online if you don’t have it available on a local station. Kevin has a heart for families and a desire to see men and women live the gospel in a real and humble way. We so appreciate this reminder to “be” instead of to “seem to be”. It’s so easy in the online world to look like the woman who has it all together. But it’s the woman who cries out to God in the midst of the messes (both literal and physical) who finds the heart of the Savior. Thank God for calling us His children in the midst of our failures! May we reach out in love to our fellow sinners on this journey with compassion and encouragement.