Masters Perfect

30 04 2010

Growing up in Augusta, GA provided our family the opportunity to rent our house out to patrons coming in town for The Masters golf tournament. Renting our house out provided my mom the opportunity to enslave me and my 5 siblings for an intense, cram session of spring cleaning. It was brutal. We had to clean the depths of our closets, scrub grout lines, and other tasks normally reserved for moving out. I can still hear my mom yelling at one of us complaining, mediocrity driven serfs; with her teeth clenched and blood pressure skyrocketing… “MASTERS PEEERFECT!”

Oh, how we hated that term. More significantly, I hated what it represented. The idea of cleaning our house like an over zealous dental hygienest on her first case of plaque was bad enough; but knowing that it was being done to impress someone else made me mad. I understand a little better now, of course. Those renters paid for our family vacation every year, but I still didn’t like cleaning for them.

Fast forward a couple of decades and I found myself spring cleaning in my own home. Jeni, Caedmon, Jackson, and Andrew all spent the afternoon eradicating pollen fall-out from our back porch. It is a big porch with lots of toys, a grill, lawn furniture, tables, rubber floor mats, and rugs which translates into a lot of scrubbing. We were hosing off everything, then hitting it all up with brushes and sponges. We cleaned all the window sills, door frames, and hand rails. We hosed off all the spider webs from the side of the house and finally removed the Christmas tree from the back yard. It was verging on, dare I say it, “Masters Perfect.”

But the crazy thing was that I enjoyed every bit of it. It was surreal, I guess it is the same disoriented sensation that people who eat oysters must feel as they enjoy something that is so obviously unpleasant. Why was I suddenly enjoying something that for years was the bane of my existence? I think I might know.

When cleaning in Augusta, my efforts were for the benefit of others. In Tallahassee, my efforts were for the benefit of my family.
In Augusta, the family slaved and never enjoyed it while others experienced a false presentation of our home.
In Tallahassee, the family labored so that they could enjoy it and others will benefit from it too.

This is a great key to spiritual and moral maturity. Back in Jesus day there were a group of moral high brows called the Pharisees. These clowns spent their days trying to obey the law perfectly while chastising others for anything less than perfection. Jesus pointed out their obvious falsehood when he called them “white washed tombs.” Clean on the outside yet filthy on the inside.

It is easy for us to fall prey to the idea of building a facade of morality and holiness while inside we are broken and unclean. Sure we may not have an affair, but our thought life is despicable. Maybe we drop cash in the offering plate, but drop even more on horse races. Maybe we sound righteous publically, but privately we gossip and slander with passion. We fake, we pretend… we lie.

We are quick to point it out in others and throw out the hypocrite word like beads in a Mardi gras parade. Truth be told, most of us struggle with inconsistency between our lives and out intentions.

Here’s my point. We need to view our spiritual and moral development much like we viewed our porch cleaning. Our lives are dirty and cluttered and a thorough cleaning would be very helpful. We don’t scrub the surface to present ourselves to others, we deep clean for the changing of ourselves.

If I allow God, His word, and the counsel of others to lead me through internal change; my wife, kids, and friends will benefit from me being a more mature person. If I try to force change in order to impress people; nobody benefits.

What if we spent more time in self-reflection and self-transformation and less time in public evaluation and self-presentation? What if we were more concerned with our true spiritual and moral condition and less about our public perception? What if we lived honest, self-critical lives instead of pretend, self-preserving lives?

We all need to clean off our porches, so let’s do it already. But, we don’t need to worry about making ourselves “Masters Perfect;” instead we need to trust the Word of God, be honest with our true condition, and let the Master make us perfect.