A Christian Perspective on Life: Lessons From the Linen Closet
It took hours.
I pulled everything out of the linen closet in order to sort, purge, and neatly replace.
By the end, I had a trash bag full of expired medications and other items no longer needed and a closet that was cleaned and organized.
The sense of accomplishment was short lived, however, when I realized no one else would appreciate, or even know about the time I dedicated to having a nice and neat closet.
I pictured the other areas of my home that an imaginary surprise visitor would notice: the dusty family room, the crumbs under the kitchen table, the dishes piled in the sink. With an exacerbated sigh, I concluded that what I had just accomplished wasn’t all that important after all.
Why? All because people wouldn’t see it, know about it, or appreciate it.
I realized this was not simply about a closet: this was an opportunity for a heart check. Do I place a higher value on that which is outwardly visible? Do I measure importance based upon the appreciation given by others?
A Christian Perspective on Life
Who am I really serving?
There is something about wanting our hard work and progress to be known; somehow we tend to equate the worth of knowing about something with the value of something.
But what if it is not meant to be known? Or at least not all of it?
I am convinced that not everything is meant to be “liked” and “shared,” discussed and on display, or even made known about and appreciated.
Deriving something’s importance or assigning worth and value to something based upon how visible and appreciated it is will only serve as an obstacle to personal growth and ultimately, a hindrance to worship and obedience.
Yet, we shouldn’t be surprised by our tendency to miscalculate and misjudge; even the disciples needed their teacher to reorient them to His truth.
“One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.’”Mark 10:13-14 NLT
They, too, needed a perspective shift in order to learn what was valuable and important – according to God.
How much more do we?
We must remember that what we do in private, that which is unseen, matters.
Whether it is cleaning out a closet, nursing a sick child to health in the dark hours of night, or ministering to “the least of these,” it matters. It is an act of worship. And if He is the only One who sees it, that is enough.
What if we trade our desire for others to know and appreciate that which we’ve done to a satisfaction of knowing that He knows: He knows who we’ve fed, He knows to whom we’ve offered a drink, He knows who we’ve clothed, He knows it all (see Matthew 25:37-40).
Dear friend, He knows that closet you’ve cleaned, those prayers you’ve prayed in the secret place (Matthew 6:6), and every good deed you’ve done in private (see Matthew 6:4). Continue on. Keep obeying, keep serving, keep praying, keep living for your audience of one.
It is those hidden, private things that are truly the worshipful things, isn’t it? Not only do they matter, they are what Jesus esteemed. Just as His disciples needed reorienting, so do we, moment by moment and day by day.
After recalling these truths shortly after I cleaned my linen closet, asking the Lord to search my heart and instruct me in His way, I was filled with peace and oddly enough, even joy.
Joy over a linen closet? No, joy over the opportunity to serve my King, even when, especially when, no one else sees.
F.B. Meyer said, “We must shine as lights in the world… We must dispel the darkness, and guide wanderers through the murky night. Light is soft and still, and is thus a fitting emblem of the influence of a holy life, which burns steadily on before the Lord continually, and is unaffected by the heed or comment of man. If no one seems the better for our consistent testimony, aim to satisfy the Lord. The lamps of the pure candlestick of a holy life are not for man only, but for Him.”
But for Him.
The three most important words to shape our hearts, desires, and motives. Even when it’s “just” a linen closet.