When was the last time you picked up after somebody? (Moms: you don’t need to answer that). For everyone else, was it a co-worker? A visitor? A church volunteer who didn’t finish the job?
I’ve found there is a huge difference between making messes and leaving messes.
The creative process demands that beauty emerge from chaos. Painters make messes, as do sculptors, graphic artists, novelists, builders, and scientists. Even God’s best work comes in the most chaotic moments, from creating the earth to fixing a life-problem.
But if those very same messes are not picked up by their creators, they are left for someone else to clean up.
The same messes that were evidence of genius can become the epitome of disgrace. When we are so consistently negligent that we fail to pick up after ourselves, whether in life or in projects, we not only insult those who follow us but we devalue the creations we set out to make.
It’s even more fascinating to realize the converse is true. And God is the prime example.
Not only did he create mankind, and pick up his mess, but when his creation made a mess of everything, he went so far as to pick up our mess, too.
When we stretch ourselves to pick up messes that aren’t even our own, we actually partake in an unseen glory, often noted only by heaven. It credits you for the good deed done, but also of being worthy of the created entity. Whatever credit a creator loses in their failure to pick up after themselves, the cleaner obtains in participation.
Jesus said in Luke 16:12 that if we’re faithful with that which is another man’s, we’ll be entrusted with that which is our own. Long before I co-owned restaurants, the Lord asked me to start picking up public bathrooms when I saw they were a mess. It was nasty. And I didn’t know why I was doing it. But the first time I picked up toilet paper off the floor in my first restaurant, it all made sense. I had been in training for this moment. It’d been a test.
For the Kingdom-minded person, their is no job too small. My senior pastor will vacuum the hallway just as easily as he’ll preach on a Sunday. There is no difference because it’s all service, and it’s all noble. It all affects people; souls are the common denominator.
The high road in the Kingdom is two-fold: do your best not to leave messes for someone else to pick up, and be eager to clean up someone else’s messes when you find them. The Lord knows I’m at fault here too, and so grateful for all those who’ve picked up after me throughout the years.
Who knows, you may just be preparing yourself for owning a business you’d never thought possible. ch: