14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. ~ Romans 13:14 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
When the month of May arrives at our country church, that means one thing: Christian Service Camp is just around the corner. Right now I’m making my preparations for being the dean of a week of Bible camp for 3rd and 4th graders. One of my annual jobs in that capacity is making sure all the little boys change their clothes and get a shower each day. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot of things about making sure that gets done.
The boys dorm of our Bible Camp has four showers. After campfire each night, there are four lines of little boys waiting for their turn in a shower. As soon as a camper is bathed, he steps out of the shower and changes into his pajamas behind a privacy curtain. Then the next little boy inherits that shower and the process begins again. Usually, we can get 25 little boys showered in about 20 minutes.
Many years ago at a week of camp, a little boy came to me at shower-time on Wednesday night to share a valuable piece of information. “Vinnie hasn’t taken a shower all week,” he said. “When it’s his turn to take a shower, he just runs the water and pretends to get in. He pours a paper cup of water on his head. Then he puts on different clothes.”
Well, to tell you the truth, this made a lot of sense and tied up a lot of loose ends. It didn’t take Vinnie very long to “take a shower.” And he did seem to be getting kind of crusty. I told the little boy to send Vinnie to have a talk with me.
When Vinnie came to my bunk, I didn’t yell at him or scold him. I handed him a wash cloth. Then I poured about two tablespoons from my bottle of “Dr. Bronner’s Organic Magic Soaps: 18-in-1 (Peppermint) Pure Castille Soap Liquid” on top of his head.
(This is the most wonderful stuff on the planet. I bring this to camp every year to clean the urinals with. The bottle says that it’s organic, that it’s highly concentrated, that it is so pure that you can drink it, and that it’s safe to use to wash your car, your dog, and small children.)
I told Vinnie, “Go get in the shower and scrub this soap off with the wash cloth. Try not to get it in your eye. And scrub the rest of your body while you’re at it.”
Five minutes later, a much cleaner Vinnie emerged wearing a fresh pair of pajamas. “Brother John,” he exclaimed. “That stuff makes you feel really CLEAN !” (I have found that this is the typical reaction to one’s first bath with the peppermint-oil-infused-Bronner’s-soap. It makes your whole body feel like a Hall’s Metho-Lyptis Cough Drop.) After that, Vinnie requested to take all his showers using the peppermint soap. He became the cleanest little camper we had.
Now, I think there’s an important spiritual principle we can all learn here. Did you notice how easy it was for me to get Vinnie to take a shower? In reality, I didn’t even give him an option. After I poured the soap on his head, he had to wash it off. The boy decided to do the right thing because the right thing was the easiest thing to do.
We all need to put this principle to work in our spiritual lives. I believe all of us who are striving to follow Jesus want to do what is right. And we are more apt to do what is right if we make doing right the easiest option.
So on Saturday night announce to the whole family that everybody is going to go to church the next morning. Lay out everyone’s Sunday best, and set out a box of doughnuts for an easy breakfast on the Lord’s Day. Call the preacher’s wife and tell her you’ll help with children’s worship. Then, when you wake up on Sunday, taking your family to church will be the easiest thing to do — or else you’ll have a lot of explaining to do. You’ll never be sorry when you make it easy to do what is right.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 26 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school and teaches Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 21) and Seth (age 17) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where when Seth Cash was 5-years-old he once shouted from the bathtub, “Everybody ought to bathe with this stuff!”) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.