A Southern Pastor: A Week Two Lenten Challenge

A father asked his 7-year-old daughter to clean up her room during the Saturday morning family chore time. She emerged from her room after five minutes and said to him, “I’m done. Can I watch TV?” Suspicious, he went to investigate. Her room looked clean and pristine.
Until he opened the closet door and was almost buried by the avalanche. He got a book and sat on a stool and read it in her room while she cleaned her closet. With Dad present, she cleaned her closet, putting toys on shelves, clean clothes in drawers and on hangers, and dirty clothes and wet towels in the hamper. When she was done she came and hugged him and said “You’re the best Dad in the world.”
That’s a sweet story, but it’s not just that. It’s also a story that points to our Lenten task and God’s presence with us in it.
Our Lenten task is to clean up our closet before we clean up our room. Or for that matter, our house, our neighborhood, our city, our state, our country,…you get the picture. It is to look to our inner motivations and desires, and then clear out the ones that keep us from being our best selves.
We like to present a tidy appearance to the world, but we all have closets. We must clean our closets. Once we realize our need for God and commit ourselves to grow in faith during this Lenten season, we can be assured that God will pull up a chair and keep us company while we clean out our closets.



So my challenge for week two of this Lenten season is to clean your closet. Find one activity which keeps you from being a more spiritual person and get rid of it. Maybe you are addicted to Facebook; limit yourself to 15 minutes a day. Maybe you watch too much TV; vow to no more than one hour a day from now until Easter. Maybe you are an introvert and spend too much time indoors; vow to sit quietly outside for 30 minutes a day, just breathing fresh air and allowing your spirit to rest. You know what needs cleaned from your closet better than anyone else. Roll up your sleeves and throw something out today! And in that newly cleared space, create a few moments of silence, rest, and spiritual growth.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

A season for everything

There’s a season for everything
    and a time for every matter under the heavens:
    a time for giving birth and a time for dying,
    a time for planting and a time for uprooting what was planted,
    a time for killing and a time for healing,
    a time for tearing down and a time for building up,
    a time for crying and a time for laughing,
    a time for mourning and a time for dancing,
    a time for throwing stones and a time for gathering stones,
    a time for embracing and a time for avoiding embraces,
    a time for searching and a time for losing,
    a time for keeping and a time for throwing away,
    a time for tearing and a time for repairing,
    a time for keeping silent and a time for speaking,
    a time for loving and a time for hating,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Melanie Tubbs is a professor, pastor, mother, Mimi, and true Arkansas woman. She lives with nine cats and one dog on a quiet hill in a rural county where she pastors a church and teaches history at the local university. Her slightly addictive personality comes out in shameful Netflix binges and a massive collection of books. Vegetarian cooking, reading mountains of books for her seminary classes, and crocheting for the churches prayer shawl ministry take up most of her free time, and sharing the love of Christ forms the direction of her life. May the Peace of Christ be with You.