24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. ~ Jude 1:24 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash
Since I retired from teaching school, I’ve started sending my white Sunday shirts to the cleaners for them to wash and press. Susan is glad because she doesn’t have to do it, and it saves her about an hour a week. We’re both glad because our local dry-cleaner does an extraordinary job with his extra heavy starch and industrial pressing machine.
A few Sundays ago, I was preaching and made the comment: “I don’t think there’s anything in the universe that’s much nicer than a man’s white dress shirt that has just come from the cleaners with heavy starch.” It was one of those times when a minister is speaking and unexpectedly hits pay-dirt. Dozens of people looked up and made eye contact with me. One woman (whose husband is in the military) said “Amen.”
In a flash of insight I realized that clean clothing is one of the intrinsically beautiful things in the universe; everybody just recognizes that fact. St. Paul uses the illustration of a clean garment to describe Christ’s work in our daily lives. He says Jesus washes the Church through His Word “that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:27)
It’s a great comfort to me that it is God’s work that makes me clean and good. I certainly don’t have the ability or strength to produce those virtues in myself. I’m trusting the Lord to finish His work in me, and I strive to cooperate with Him as much as I can each day.
Today’s Scripture lesson (at the top) always fills my heart with joy. It says God is working in us moment by moment to make us holy and clean. On the last day He will bring us to Heaven, and we will be “Faultless.”
(Just like the spray-starch. 😊)
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 32 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He recently retired after 28 years as a Mississippi public schoolteacher, and is now a stay-at-home-grandpa with his new grandson, Landon Cash. He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in a brick house in town (where Landon ate a baked sweet potato today.) Their kids include Spencer (age 26), his wife Madeline (age 26), and Seth (23), and his wife Leanne (age 22). You can send him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.