Spic and Span! (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Pliny the Elder: “Home is where the hearts is.”

Roman author, naturalist, and philosopher “Pliny the Elder” (AD 23 – August 25, AD 79) once stated, “Home is where the heart is.” How true! And all the modern-day gurus of interior design frequently add that “the kitchen is the heart of the home”! Fair enough.  In the same way that the human heart nourishes the body with continuous bursts of blood, from the kitchen come frequent meals that sustain the household. And when you invite people over, if allowed to roam freely, that’s where your guests tend to gather.  People want to hang out with you in the kitchen.  Everyone knows, whether your kitchen is big or small, that’s where the action is!

Before we go any further, let us reassure you: it’s not what’s in your kitchen that’s important, it’s what comes out of your kitchen. A humble heart can supply a whole lot of love! Also, your kitchen doesn’t need to be stocked with all the latest gadgets or high-tech appliances to be functional; nor do you need hand-rubbed custom cabinets or those highly coveted countertops of polished granite.  You absolutely DO need to keep your kitchen clean!!!  Besides the health hazards of a dirty kitchen, face it, nobody wants to wake up to an ugly mess.

Hi there! Make yourself at home. I’ll be out in the kitchen rustling up some “grub”!

It’s not at all appetizing to have a cup of coffee and a danish in a nasty kitchen. And after all, that’s where you prepare the food that you and the people you care about will be eating! Would you want to eat in a restaurant famous for keeping a dirty kitchen? Yuck! In fact, restaurant kitchens are periodically inspected by the health department for cleanliness, and if one repeatedly doesn’t pass muster, the owner is forced to close until he or she cleans up their act! (Literally)

Back to the home: On a recent Dr. Oz program, experts acknowledged that the kitchen is often the dirtiest room in the house! (Yes, even dirtier than the bathroom!) Even in the “cleanest” kitchens, the ones where the cooks always wash their hands and carefully preserve and prepare their foods, there was … (cue the creepy music) … nastiness unseen by the human eye!  (Oh, the horror!) When kitchen surfaces were viewed under a microscope, experts discovered germs and bacteria lurking in corners and crevices. And one huge source of bacteria? The always damp sponge used to wash the dishes was a breeding ground for the little buggers!

Now mind you, these kitchens looked and smelled clean; the people maintaining them were careful and conscientious and thought they were doing a good job. But under closer scrutiny their kitchens — the hearts of their homes — had all their dirty little secrets brought to light! (Now, if you haven’t guessed already, we’re about to compare the kitchen, with all it’s invisible bacteria and germs lurking about, to the human heart.)

There are a lot of nasty little critters breeding in our hearts. Everyone of us needs to take steps daily to keep our hearts sanitized, and hence, healthy. Like our kitchens, we all harbor dirty little secrets, often undetected because we simply don’t take time to thoroughly examine our hearts. Harmful parasites such as wrongful attitudes (prejudice, bigotry, jealousy, envy, strife, selfishness, self-centeredness, pride — hello! — and numerous other mindsets, so please feel free to fill in the blank) as well as unbelief. Sometimes a slight, whether intentional or not, can lead to a person holding a grudge. If not dealt with, a grudge leads to bitterness, and bitterness is a silent killer of the heart!

Sanitizing a kitchen calls for strong measures such as ammonia and bleach (Um, but not at the same time!); getting your heart spic and span calls for similar measures. The idiom “spic and span” comes from root words and imagery suggesting fresh, clean wood and the new beams of a sound sailing vessel. King David understood the need to keep his heart spic and span. He must have done a pretty good job at it, too, because God describes the poet and soldier by saying, “I have found that David … is a man after my own heart, who will carry out all my wishes.” Act 13:22 ISV)  So King David must have been perfect, right? If you believe that, we have some swampland in Florida we’d like to sell you. Check out 1st and 2nd Samuel and try to remember you’re not reading Peyton Place!

But David was loyal and devoted to God. He knew he made mistakes, but he was totally honest with himself and with God. He wasn’t malicious and always tried  to do his best. In other words, his heart was in the right place.

David examined his life daily and asked God to help him in all things. We need to do the same. Read what David wrote in Psalm 51. Spend quality time with the Lord everyday and make it your prayer. Below is just one
precious verse from the chapter:

Create in me a clean heart, O God (and) renew a loyal spirit within me.  (Psalm 51:10 NLT) David is essentially asking God to help him keep his heart spic and span! Let’s join him in that great endeavor.

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