“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 (NIV).
One of my household roles is to do the cooking, and I enjoy it. One thing I try to do planning the weekly menu is accounting for leftovers to be eaten the next night or for lunches the following day. It works well, until, of course, the unexpected event comes up, leaving leftovers in the fridge.
I’m certain we’ve all placed leftover food in a container with the best intentions of eating it later, only to have it sit there and go to waste. It is one of the sad luxuries of an affluent society.
Here’s what happens in my refrigerator from time to time. I’ll put something in there, forget about it and then a few days later find it. I think, I need to dump it, but instead I grab what I need out and close the doors. The next time I open the fridge, it’s the same thing. Every time I open the fridge, it’s there staring me in the face. I can keep pushing it farther back but until I take it out, it’s only going to get worse inside that container.
I think our hearts work the same way. We go through life, and because we live in a broken world, we get hurt. Things are said that hurt. Instead of dealing with the pain, we put it in a container and store it away.
We face a defeat, and we do the same thing. We falter morally, and again instead of dealing with it we store it away. Guilt and shame, put a lid on it and tuck it away. Anger and resentment, bust out the Tupperware.
Our Scripture verse comes from one of David’s Psalms, one of his most famous. After David has been confronted with his sin with Bathsheba he writes this psalm. He prays, Lord create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. He is praying to be rid of the leftovers of his life and for God to help clear out the containers of his heart.
Getting rid of old leftovers isn’t fun. Sometimes, it’s downright disgusting. But there comes a point you have to step up and toss it out. You take a deep breath, turn on the water and garbage disposal, squint your eyes, rip of the top, and dump it. Then it’s gone.
Know what happens the next time you go to the fridge? You open it up and the container is no longer staring you in the face. It is a liberating feeling.
This is exactly what God wants to do with the leftovers in your heart. So today, not tomorrow, I challenge you to do some heavy lifting and deal with the junk in your heart. If you and I are going to live a full life for Christ and receive all of His blessings, we have to get rid of the leftovers.
The Rev. Jason Everson is pastor of Good Samaritan UMC in Lake Wylie. He, his wife and two daughters live in Lake Wylie. He can be reached at email@example.com.