Cleanliness is next to Godliness

What would we do?

How many times did you fling something out of the window? 
Can you recollect the times when you rolled down your car window to get rid of a banana peel or an empty biscuit pack or a chocolate wrap?
Of course, you want to keep your car clean. 
Did the surroundings matter to you? May be not!

Do you remember the number of peanut shells or chips you threw down from your train berth making it messy, and the number of food wraps you sent flying out the train window? Keeping it clean might not have occurred to you, because it wasn’t your own.

What would Jesus do?

We sit and grouch about global warming, polluted seas and lack of clean drinking water. Did we ever look back and think how much we contributed towards it individually? 

Let’s see what the Bible tells about cleanliness.

In all the four Gospels, we read this beautiful story of God blessing five loaves of bread and two small fish. Isn’t it amazing to know that five thousand men ate to their stomach’s fill and heart’s content?

While most of us are lost in the miracle, did you ever focus on what happened next? The disciples picked up bits and fragments and got twelve basketful of left-overs. I’m sure we all know this, but have you ever wondered why the disciples had to pick up the fragments? Because, Jesus asked them to. 

Cleaning up after a miracle – That’s what Jesus did

Pondering over why Jesus asked his disciples to pick up the fragments, I could think of two reasons –

  1. He doesn’t like wasting food
  2. He doesn’t like to leave the place unclean

It was a deserted place, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Probably, it was sparsely populated or probably there was no human abode at all. Still, Jesus wanted to keep the place clean. It just didn’t matter who was watching over them or who was taking over that place.

There were times when I threw stuff out in the open, proudly declaring that they’re biodegradable and I’m not guilty of littering. But, that was never an excuse for Jesus to clutter up the place.

While this is just one insight from the Bible, there are many more verses which talk about cleanliness in physical and spiritual terms. I’d like to stress on keeping our surroundings clean. It is so well exemplified in the above passage.

It doesn’t matter where you are or who is watching, keeping your surroundings clean is a choice we ought to willfully make. After all, isn’t the age old proverb true – “Cleanliness is next to Godliness?”

Next time when you feel the urge to throw something out of the window whether it’s your house or car or an open space, please remind yourself of God’s vision for humans from Genesis 1:26-28. God gave man dominion over the entire creation. He handed over all the authority to humans. He entrusted us to take care of the creation. How well are we maintaining it? If it’s our responsibility, we are accountable for it.

It’s not a janitor’s job description. It’s an individual’s responsibility. It doesn’t lower your self-esteem but improves your self-respect.

Would you join hands with me in taking up this challenge to voluntarily and intentionally keep our surroundings clean? 

Here are a few ideas to implement –

  1. Keep a paper bag in your car to collect trash and dump it in the bin when you reach your destination.
  2. Just because the cleaning department takes care of the maintenance, don’t make a mess. It’s your job to keep your home/work-space tidy.

If you have any ideas or suggestions, please add them in the comments below.

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