Recently, my wife and I celebrated our 52nd wedding anniversary. Over the years, we’ve raised three sons and enjoyed an active ministry together. By training, my wife is a teacher who earned a Masters Degree in Special Education. And for many of the early years in our marriage, she taught students. But no matter whether she was teaching in a classroom full-time, or joining me in some pastoral responsibility in shepherding people in the church we pastored, my wife ran the inner workings of our home and family with great precision. One of the tasks that she has always paid particular attention to is … the laundry.

She’s done our laundry for 52 years. I can’t count the times I’ve heard the words, “I need to do a load of laundry” come out of her mouth. It’s a never-ending task, I know. And it includes not only placing dirty clothes in the washing machine. After the washer has run through its cycle, she takes the wet clothes out and puts them in the dryer. And then, as soon as the buzzer goes off for the dryer, she puts the clean clothes in a clothes basket, goes to our family room, sits down and separates and neatly folds every piece of laundry, matching socks, stacking underwear. Finally, she takes the folded clothes and puts them in their proper drawer. I’ve seen her go through the laundry routine literally thousands of times during the course of our marriage. In fact, she does at least one load of laundry almost every day.

I am woeful to report that my only part in the laundry saga has been trying to see that my clothes are placed in the proper section of our clothes hamper when they need to be washed.We have what I guess you might call a ‘segmented’ clothes hamper; whites go in the first bin, coloreds in the middle bin, and shirts that need to be starched and press in the third bin. (Those are taken to a laundry service downtown.) But I’m not as good at seeing about the laundry as my wife. In fact, I have been known to even let my dirty laundry pile up a bit before I take it to the hamper. There are occasions, I’m afraid, when I’ve noticed an entire load of my stuff that I haven’t tended to. And that’s an important piece to this laundry story. You see, if I don’t take it to the hamper … she’s not gonna take it to the washing machine.

It’s a lot that way with my journey with God, I’ve noticed, too. I have a constant, daily need to be clothed in a garment of praise. But the world I live in can easily hamper my journey, rob me of my joy, displace my sense of meaning and purpose. Every day, I have a profound need to put on the whole armor of God, too. The helmet of salvation. The breastplate of righteousness. The belt of the truth of God buckled around my waist. I live in a dirty, fallen world. My job is to present my life as a living sacrifice. My wife has demonstrated to me for 52 years that she will lovingly wash my soiled clothes. God’s promise is even better. As I present myself to Him every day, He faithfully washes me clean by the power of his blood.

Public confession time: I’ve come to a renewed place of commitment in my journey with Jesus in recent weeks. I’m focused on asking him to help me . And … I’m gonna do a better job of getting’ my clothes into the right bin in our clothes hamper. I’ve written out a paraphrase of what God said to husbands, in Ephesians 5, when Paul said, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved Ken Jones, and gave Himself for Ken, 26 that He might [g]sanctify and cleanse Ken with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present Ken to Himself as a glorious Ken, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that Ken should be holy and without blemish.”

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