Our kitchen cabinets don’t go all the way to the ceiling. On a positive note: the top of the cabinets provide a good location to place interesting knickknacks. On a negative note: the cabinet tops are dust collectors. In the division of domestic duties one of my tasks is dusting. I tried to convince myself that because no one ever sees the top of the cabinets I could restrict my dusting to below cabinet level.
I was reminded of an old legend of a stone carver who was crafting a beautiful bird high up in a spire of a cathedral. Someone asked him why he was putting so much work into a little sculpture that no one looking upward from the cathedral floor would ever see. The sculptor replied, “Because God sees.” I decided I should dust where only God sees!
My doing due diligence with the dusting because of God seeing where people don’t isn’t the real issue. I don’t think God really cares all that much about the dust on the top of the cabinets. But dusting the tops of the cabinets did get me to thinking about other areas hidden from public view that do concern God. Those hidden areas include my thoughts, attitudes, and private activities.
It’s rather easy to convince one’s self that private thoughts, attitudes, and activities that are questionable or wrong and sinful aren’t all that bad as long as we keep them to ourselves. But if we seek to live daily with the reality of God in our lives, then this no longer applies. Our private lives impact our personal relationship to God.
Do we allow ourselves to watch something on media that we wouldn’t if others were sitting next to us? Would we want our fantasies displayed on a big screen TV? Note: everyone has tempting thoughts, even Jesus did; these are not wrong or sinful in and of themselves, not until we start enjoying them, turning them into fantasies! Do we treat a mate, children, parents, close friends, or co-workers differently when no one else is around to observe? It’s been said that character is measured by what one does when no one is watching.
We may resist seeing the positive in the concept of God watching us because it was used to keep us in line as a child. We were also told as a child not to run out into the street without looking both ways, and most of us still abide by the principle as adults. The fact that God is watching is not at all a negative concept that limits life; it can be a powerful concept that makes life better.
God, after all, is a loving God and only wants what is best for us. A great deal of what we’re tempted to engage in privately that we would not want to go public eventually does go public, to our embarrassment, harm and to the harm of others. Who hasn’t entertained persistent negative and judgmental thoughts of someone, expecting to keep them private, but in an unguarded moment letting loose with them?
I’ll continue to schedule the dusting of the top of our kitchen cabinets, where only God sees. It’ll be sort of a sacramental act, a reminder that God sees more than the dust on the top of the cabinets!
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.” Psalm 139:1-3
Thank you for this. God bless and keep you.