The Ministry of the Clean Toilet

Wednesday evening found me cleaning toilets at 10:10 p.m.

After spending a couple hours helping to teach a group of challenging tweens at church, I found myself restless, and feeling less than effective.

Jeff was at band practice, the boys were tucked in bed, and I was cleaning toilets.

I felt empty. Nothing left to give.

When I got out of the shower, I couldn’t help noticing that my toilet needed cleaned. It seemed a natural thing to respond to that need. Before long, I was scrubbing down the sink, wiping down mirrors, on my hands and knees cleaning the floor.

Around 10:40, I realized the ridiculousness of it all.

Sitting on my bathroom floor that night, I remembered hearing a priest talk about his difficult past. He used a Greek word that fell heavy on my heart and remained with me all these months: Kenosis—an emptying out; a hollowing out.

That was how I felt. An empty vessel, sailing purposelessly through life.

As I sat there, all of my responsibilities weighed heavily on me. It felt so useless.

What does cleaning toilets have to do with furthering the Kingdom of God?

Sometimes, it is so inviting to give in to that discouragement. I was having a big fat pity party right there in my bathroom floor.

Fortunately, prayer is a fluent language for me, and comes as natural as breath. He never fails to reassure me.

The following evening, however, found me having a similar discussion with my husband.

He was frustrated. He was discouraged.

Is his ministry making a difference? Are we losing sight of the Big Picture? Should we give up this fight?

It was in my attempts to reassure him that I found words for what God had spoken over me Wednesday night on the bathroom floor.

Sometimes the small things are the Big Picture. Whether it’s cleaning toilets or tucking in our children, whether it’s leading worship for a congregation of 200 or 25…

Every moment is Holy. Every moment belongs to Him.

These small moments in our lives fit together like pieces in a giant puzzle. By themselves, they seem unnecessary, useless. But without them, the puzzle could not be complete.

Satan seeks to discourage. He tries to sway my mind with doubts and frustrations.

Isaiah 43:10 says, ‘“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.”’ (emphasis mine).

The Hebrew word for know in this passage is yadha. This word depicts a level of intimacy often used to describe the relationship between a man and his wife.

That is the kind of intimacy God wants with us. This kind of intimacy isn’t always about the mountaintop experiences in a relationship.

Sometimes it’s about cleaning toilets.

The little things that we do matter. They matter to Him.

When I remember this, I honor Him. It is my greatest desire to honor Him in every moment.

Even when cleaning the toilet.

Comments

  1. says

    Every moment is holy. Who are we doing it for? For Whom did you carry the stone? All things lead to HIM said one of the ancient fathers (and you know he didn’t mean all religions lead to God)! Seek not great things for yourself. God isn’t committed our comfort but to His Glory and you so glorify HIM in your post and prose, your life and loves. Have a holy weekend! Gotta run clean my toilet literally.

  2. says

    THis is excellent Laura!! AS I’m sitting in a messy home, I feel encouraged to clean for HIM.
    Thank you for going beyond just sharing it with your husband.
    Can’t wait till Tuesday to start our study. I always love what you have to share!
    Love,
    Lelia

  3. says

    Your words of finding the holy in the ordinary–that it all matters to Him speak to me so beautifully. Great thoughts to ponder this evening and make application. Good to find your blog via Bev. Bless you, Annette

  4. says

    So easy to believe that only the BIG things matter! As long as we are praising God regardless the chore, we are pleasing Him. I once heard that in order to clean toilets we have to get on our knees! But you oh sister – how can you question your pupose- a daughter of the King, a wife, a mother, my encourage-me-and-lift-me-when-I-most-need-your-prayers friend, a pshycologist to those who lean on you for hope, an author, a worker in His church…your life is full of purpose!

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