“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.”
Matthew 23: 25-26
I was hit by this little chesnut this morning when I opened Caleb’s bible before my morning run/jog/walk/slow march/painful deathcrawl. I was looking for a verse in Hebrews about finishing the race–you know, something to inspire me during my workout–but instead opened the pages right up to Jesus getting onto some hypocritical Pharisees.
Normally I’d just flip over to what I was looking for but the words I happened to read took my breath away–because here I have been this week, so consumed with this diet and exercise program, so obsessed with getting in shape and being healthy and looking supa-fly, that I’ve neglected–wait for it–the inside of my cup.
And I think God just wanted me to know.
As a kid, my main chore was dishes. It sucked for me mainly because in all the places we lived, we rarely had a working dishwasher. My mom taught my little sister how to do laundry. I got stuck with kitchen duty. It’s a fine art, really, one I tried to hustle through many a time. I cut corners and cleaned the tops of glasses but often skipped reaching down into them and scrubbing the bottoms in my hurry to get out of the kitchen and talk to my friends on the phone. So I know all about gross cups.
My main excuse for not doing my bible study in the morning has been “there’s no time. I’m so tired. I have to do it at night or in the afternoon, or any other time except bright and early before the kids wake up.” But I sure enough made time for a walk at 7:00 a.m.
Why is any of this ironic? Because one of the reasons I wanted to get in shape in the first place was so people won’t look at me and say, “Look at that fatass wannabe Christian. Isn’t gluttony and laziness a sin? The poor and hungry aren’t going to get anywhere with her around!”
Yeah, so…while gluttony and laziness are issues I’m working on, it won’t matter because the inside of my cup will be filthy and my tomb will be maggoty. I am ashamed to admit I caught myself in mid-prayer saying this: “God please clean out the inside of my cup so that the outside can be sparkly.”
God: “The correct answer is…what?”
Me: “That’s not the correct answer?”
God: “What do you think?”
Me: “I’m going to be fat for life, aren’t I?”
God: “Would you get on track here, please?”
Me: “Oh alright! Clean the inside of the cup and don’t worry about the rest. There is that right?”
God: (sigh) “Yes, that’s right. Now focus on that from now on.”
New Priority numero uno: focus on remembering to wash the inside of my cup by regularly spending time in prayer and reading the bible. In the morning.
Numero dos? Asking Caleb what in the world made him bookmark that page to begin with.