Friday, April 29

Polishing the Toothbrush Holder

These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. --1st Peter 1:7

Martha Stewart I'm not, but today I polished our toothbrush holder. About 6 months ago I bought some decorative containers (soap dish, toothbrush holder and the like) for our bathroom. They were fine until I ran them through the dishwasher. For the last several weeks those items have resided in a cupboard instead of on the counter. I kept telling myself to buy some tarnish remover/polish. Today was finally that day.

According to the directions, I needed to soak the things for awhile first. Then I needed to aggressively scrub at any stubborn part. The last step was to wipe away the residue with a clean cloth. As I sat there scrubbing on the lid to the toothbrush holder, what was formerly a dingy color of metal gradually become quite attractive. I hadn't even noticed how badly tarnished it had been. The shining metal underneath eventually bore my reflection and I felt a deep sense of accomplishment.

I thought a lot about how this relates to being a Christian. Because we live in an imperfect world, we fail to notice how tarnished we are. We may, for all intents and purposes, look just fine to casual observers. We may believe that because we go to church, don't watch certain movies, or don't engage in certain behaviors, that we are shining moral examples.

How "shiny" we are is not about how often we go to church. It's about how well we reflect Christ to the rest of the world. The idea of soaking the toothbrush holder in a solution is like accepting Christ. When we are baptized into God's family, we are washed in the blood that Jesus shed for us on the cross. That's the first step.

The remaining steps include our day to day lives. God allows a number of different things to happen to us in life. Some trials may feel like an abrasive scrub brush being rubbed mercilessly across our hearts and our emotions. God uses those experiences to further refine us and scrape away any parts of our character that may not be reflecting him clearly.

As Christ continues to work in us, the bits of grit and grime are eventually wiped away to reveal a more beautiful piece of God's creation. That's something that I find comforting about the way God deals with us. He doesn't only work on polishing the parts of his creation that are already nice-looking. Since we don't start out in mint condition, any restoration work that is done clearly shows that it is God who brings out the beauty in us. When we are polished to the point of shining, Christ's reflection is the one that glints and glimmers.

There are days when I don't feel like a work of art and I wonder what it is that God sees in me. Some days I may feel like I'm just a toothbrush holder or a soapdish on God's bathroom counter, but how wonderful it is to know that even a toothbrush holder can be a thing of beauty!

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