So yesterday was trash day. After I got home, and pulled the trash can back to the house, I realized that the bottom of it was full of maggots. Actually, I had realized it a few days ago, but had ignored it. Every summer when the weather gets hot, the maggot infestation gets worse in the trash can. What usually happens is something like this:
- the trash can gets overloaded (which is every week in a family our size!)
- someone doesn’t take the time to push the trash down into the can
- the lid doesn’t close all the way
- flies get in … they do what flies do I guess
I had to clean the can out by spraying it with some insecticide, then washing out the can with bleach. This process will likely be repeated a few times until cool weather arrives in October. Well, it got me thinking. It’s like that in our personal life. We leave the lid open in areas and then we let “flies” in (small temptations, seemingly little sins) which leave us infested with maggots (sin habits, bitterness, anger, lust etc.) that we just want to ignore. Maybe its time to clean out the maggots. I know there are areas of my life that I need to do just that. And I know I’ll likely have to do it again down the road. Hopefully, not the same area again. Thankfully, there’s grace. Jesus is so patient with me. I just have to be careful about leaving the lid open in certain areas of my life and letting things get in that I know are going to slowly infest me.
That is also true of the church too. I have seen people come in and go out and that’s okay. I know sometimes we have to “clean out the maggots” by speaking the truth, laying out a clear, uncompromising vision and calling people to be a part of the mission and not just be consumers. If they don’t want that, then they need to be washed out and can go somewhere else. There’s no room for maggots to infest the church, just as there isn’t any room for them to infest our lives. Paul talks in 2 Thessalonians 3 about people not willing to work and being busybodies and gossips. These people, Paul says, we shouldn’t associate with. Bottom line is they have their own maggots and they’ve likely ignored them to the point that they have infested their life. Don’t associate with maggots…don’t BE a maggot. Perry Noble speaks about not closing the back door of the church, because if the church is a body, you don’t want to close up the back door (if you know what I mean!). Sometimes it’s okay to let some things pass. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge and clean out the maggots in your life…and let the maggots go in your church. Its a nasty job, but it needs to be done sometimes.
If we are to be about the mission we have been called to…expanding God’s Kingdom…then we can’t let whining, complaining, self-centered people hijack the vision for His church. We are about making a difference in lives and changing people’s perspective about the church, God, themselves and others…so that the church can effectively impact another generation…without maggots!