We have a dishwasher at home. When we returned from Africa in 2003 to serve at Grace Christian University, we stayed on campus for five months. During that time, we began searching for a home. It was to be our first home ever – since as missionaries, we had always lived on the mission field only coming home for short periods of time. Interestingly enough, each time we were home we were thankful for God’s supply of housing. We were never picky or particular as long as God supplied. But now, as we searched for a home of our own, my wife mentioned an interesting fact — throughout our married life, we never had an automatic dishwasher. We had several “manual” dishwashers – you know, the kind with water, dish soap and towels incorporating everyone in the family (and while in Africa, even some house help at times!). So as we set out to search for our first house we had a specific request – it must have an automatic dishwasher!
Turned out, our dishwasher was nice – I didn’t even know what brand it was, or if it was 90% energy efficient. But it worked. Yours probably works much the same as ours did: you take dishes that are dirty and arrange them inside so the water and soap sprays them nicely and upon completion you open the door and find sparkling clean dishes and glasses! (We did learn that you must rinse difficult stains and not place a bowl of macaroni and cheese inside! We also learned that the placement of the vessels in the machine allows for good circulation and rinsing of dishes.)
Occasionally, when guidelines are not followed the dishes coming out of the dishwasher at the end of the cycle are still “dirty dishes” – what a disappointment that is! You open the door while holding a carton of pure delicious Florida orange juice in your hand, pull out a glass only to find smudges and crustaceans on the glass! It turns your stomach – and you must repeat the cleansing process. Dirty dishes are not supposed to come out of the dishwasher. The dirty are supposed to go in! I am not at all disgusted when I put dirty dishes into the dishwasher, but when they come out that way, I begin to search for the reason or the “culprit loader” of the dishes.
Jesus confronted the legalistic Pharisees of his day who told him his disciples were not living “according to the traditions of the elders because they ate their food with ‘unclean’ hands” (Mark 7:5). Jesus clearly instructs, “Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him; rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean’” (Mark 7:15). Dirty dishes go in, but it is what comes out that is important. What we should be concerned about is what comes OUT! “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft…..” (Mark 7:20-21). It’s a heart issue! We should be very concerned about our hearts not what is external. But what we say and do and desire is an indication of the status of the heart. To put it another way,
The heart issue of mankind is the issue of the human heart.
Even after gross sin and immorality David prayed, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). Make that your daily prayer — for God to make your heart “sparkling clean” so all that comes out of you will be clean as well.