The tedious task of doing laundry has never been described as glamorous. I have rarely found a woman that enjoys the task or relishes the work of washing, drying, folding and putting away clothing. We tire of the balled up socks and pockets full of odds and ends. Today I want to talk about the WORST discovery in a pile of dirty clothes and that’s… clean clothes! Sometimes the item is even still folded! Oh, the frustration this brings me! This means that all the work I went through last week to get this item washed, dried and delivered to their room was for nothing. The owner didn’t care about the time and energy I took to do this work. They didn’t value what I had given them. The piece of clothing was either discarded into the hamper after finding something better to wear or maybe it never made it to the closet or drawer in the first place.
Finding clean clothes in the laundry is worse to me than finding stains on clothing. I am used to stains. I have three sons and a husband; stains are considered accessories at our house. “Nice grass stains, Peyton, they match your socks.” “Thanks, Dad, I like the new spots on the front of your shirt, BBQ sauce is manly.” At least when clothing comes to me stained I know the wearer used the item and probably had a good time getting it. That’s what they make Oxy Clean for (yep, works great, free tip for the today).
But a clean shirt…not cool. You know I have to see this as a Biblical lesson. Since everything happens for a reason and is ordained by God, is there really any other way to see every occurrence in our lives? This particular event brings to mind the parable given by Jesus about the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. Do you think how I feel finding a clean shirt in the dirty clothes is just an inkling of how the Master felt when offered back the talent that had been buried and unused?
If you don’t remember this story well, go back and read it. Here is the condensed version. A Master has three servants. To one he gives five talents, to another three talents and to another one talent. The first two get to work and make use of the talents they have been entrusted with and double their talents. The third servant however does not. He goes off and buries his one talent right away to keep it hidden. The Master comes back to settle accounts (cue the dramatic music here). The first two servants each take their turn and present their doubled offering back to their Master receiving the glorious words of, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your Master.” Then up walks the final servant with what in his hand to offer back his Master? A clean shirt. Exactly what he had been given and nothing more. Where are the stains? Any rips or tears? Where is the proof of a life well lived? How about proof that demonstrated he belonged to his Master? Nope, nothing. His Master had given him something to make use of, to be fruitful with and multiply. To demonstrate to the world that he belonged to and loved his Master. Instead he hid it so no one would see it and it couldn’t even be of use to him. What a waste. What does the Master have to say to this servant? Oh, it’s not pretty. Read it for yourself; it contains words like wicked, slothful, darkness and weeping. Yikes, no laughing matter there.
What are you doing with what God has entrusted to your care? Whether he has given you much or little, he expects you to make use of it for His glory. Talents, money, children, skills, wisdom, a husband, health, friends, the list goes on. Don’t bury it just to offer it back to your Master untouched and unchanged. Get some dirt on it. When people look at you let them say, “Yep, I know who she belongs to, it’s obvious.” Let your talents be well worn from use. May the fruits be multiplied for God’s glory. May your feet be scarred from carrying the Good News to others, may your knees be calloused from time in prayer. When the time comes to settle accounts with your Master may you show up exhausted from a race well run and with stains and scars from a life that shows proof of a good and faithful servant.
Next time you are sorting through clothes that show the proof of being worn, think about how you can use the talents entrusted to you by your Master to demonstrate a true life well-worn for him.