I was fairly certain I’d just entered the screen set of a Jetsons cartoon when I first walked down the display aisle of vacuums. The first few I looked at were on the end cap of the aisle, and I quickly decided they were too new-fangled for my needs. So I walked further down the aisle, looking for a nice conventional style. Guess what! Conventional is extinct! Nothing even slightly resembled my poor old, broken-down dinosaur of a machine! Several styles were actually robotic. I knew those existed, but I hadn’t realized how “common” they’d become! Although I was in dire need of a new vacuum, I left the store that day with an empty cart and lots of questions. My next stop was the internet to investigate these new creatures I’d met.
A few days later, my husband brought home a bright red box containing the brand new vacuum we had chosen. My level of excitement proved I am a well-seasoned housewife. (A true housewife would, of course, never reject a small black box containing red rubies, but she can see more usefulness in a big red box containing a new black sweeper!) 😉 We were expecting company that night, and I had several projects already in progress. So I left the machine in the box to motivate me to finish them up before I embarked on the new adventure with the vacuum. I was using it as my reward!
A short while later, I sat in front of the few parts and began the assembly process. I was so eager to plug it in and hear it whir! I finally finished the assembly and plugged it into the outlet. It worked like a charm! Next step, move it to the other end of the hallway and start working.
I began on the far end of the hallway, away from the busiest part of the house. It’s not a large house, so it’s not a long hall. As I vacuumed, enjoying the process immensely more than I had for quite a few years, I began to watch the front of the new machine. It is a bagless style with a clear front. I was astounded to discover how quickly my shiny new vacuum was looking dusty. I quickly turned it off to inspect. What was it that was dulling my machine so quickly? Lo and behold, I found the culprit! It was dirt! Not a little dirt! In my short path down the hallway, I had serendipitously collected an astonishing amount of dust and lint! My jaw was literally hanging open! I finished our small front room, and then took the front off the machine to dump my collection. But before dumping it, I took it to show my husband. I knew he was busy studying for Sunday’s sermon, but I knew he wouldn’t want to miss seeing this pile of dirt! (He wasn’t quite as excited as I was, but he did the appropriate number of oohs, ahs, and grunts as he watched me empty it.)
By this time, however, my excitement was turning to dismay. I knew, without a doubt, that we had not generated that much grime in the short time since our old faithful vacuum had sucked its last breath. The truth was our old machine had simply outlived its effectiveness. It had not been doing its job for a long long time. The new machine was obviously much more efficient. I don’t mind vacuuming. It is somewhat of a stress reliving activity for me. I had not been slack in my responsibility. I had been going through the motions of sweeping. But I did not realize how ineffective my labor had become. The new machine was working at a much higher efficiency, and I was truly noticing the difference now. I was almost giddy to vacuum the rest of the house to see what I could achieve with my new miracle machine! I am fairly certain I was breathing better, healthier air by the time I finished! ☺️
It’s been a few days since my first experience with the new vacuum. The company has departed, and I have pulled out my now slightly-used sweeper to clean up afterwards. But I’ve been reflecting on the lessons I learned that first day. Two things have been sweeping through my mind. First, am I like that carpet? Do I look satisfactory on the surface, but hide away undesirable and unhealthy grime underneath? Am I in need of a cleaning in my heart? My prayer in that regard has been similar to the one King David prayed in Psalm 139:23, 24. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” I can pray from a yearning heart, “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” (Psalm 19:12) I truly desire to be spiritually cleansed, deep-cleaned by the Holy Spirit.
I have also been contemplating how my life might be like that old vacuum. Have I lost my effectiveness without even noticing it? It is quite easy to go through the motions of the Christian life without the proper motivation or power. Life can become merely routine without either of these. My motivation must be the love of Christ. Realizing the tremendous sacrifice of His life for mine on the cross of Calvary should be more than sufficient motivation for me to give Him my best in service! “For the love of Christ constraineth us.” (II Corinthians 5:14) I Corinthians 13 is a powerful reminder of the futility of performing any task without Christlike love. I can find true power only on my knees and in study of the Word of God. Has my heart been earnestly seeking Him? A genuine love for others combined with the power that comes from a life of prayerful dependence on God will keep me effective in my life. Why would I want to merely go through the motions without any real results? I’d be no better than that old vacuum!
Well, my carpets are much cleaner now. Although I am dismayed to realize what a state I had allowed them to come to, I am thankful for the lesson that came along with that shiny new machine. I found many instructions and trouble-shooting concerns in the manual, but the greater lessons were impressed into my heart! I am glad I could truly make a clean sweep in my life!