Pastor’s Corner: Spring Cleaning

It’s that time of year when people start thinking of spring cleaning; sprucing up their home or wardrobe after the long winter.

(The following thoughts are adapted from a blog by Elizabeth Lynn and Mark Ramsey, of Macedonian Ministries on 4/10/19 about church boards.)

The tradition of “spring cleaning” springs up everywhere as daylight lengthens: closets, pantries, desks, garages, to-do lists. And right now, wherever we go, the advice of professional de-clutterer Marie Kondo is springing up, too: only keep items that ‘spark joy,’ she tells us.”

What can we take from this moment to apply to our faith and our lives?

Clearly, not every item on your personal agenda needs to ‘spark joy.’ As in life, people tend to hold onto some items because of responsibility, obligation, or other people. But it is fairly easy to observe that people hold onto many things – material items, habits and routines – far too long and continue to accumulate a crowded list of “to-dos.”

There are many reasons for this over-accumulation. Some things in our lives linger on even as our energy and enthusiasm for them wane because we are afraid to change or other people convince us that they are important. The cost of ending something is weighed against the reaction such an action might entail.

Often, people don’t agree within themselves or among themselves about what should stay or go – and keeping the status quo is safer than addressing those differences.

And then there is the reality that some people never see “spring cleaning” as a priority. We don’t get to it, either because it holds no value for them, or we don’t know how to prune things in our lives.

A person of any situation or age needs to do “spring cleaning” regularly for the mental, physical and spiritual health and vitality of the person.

One way forward could be to consider the two small parables in Matthew 13: 44-46. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

In your life right now, what is that treasure? What is that pearl? What is the part of your life that is of such great value that it is worth “selling” everything else? How do you know? How do you know when you have found that treasure or that pearl of great price? How do you recognize such value in your life and in our lives together? Where are you actively making choices, and where might you be avoiding choices that need to be made?” In other words, what do you need to do to keep the main thing the main thing in your life so that you are not sidetracked by less important distractions.

Let’s ponder these questions as you “spruce up” your life and its purposes this spring, and as you live out your faith in our great and gracious God each week!