I prefer neatness.
I am not necessarily a neat freak. Don’t think anyone would call me that, but I like things neat for sure.
Neatness is more valuable to me than cleanliness. There is a difference for sure. Something can be perfectly clean and sanitary, but also completely messy as well.
The hard to find chapter and verse of “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” would be translated “Neatness is God’s favorite” in the Carroll Standard Version.
I don’t know if you have ever lived with a child before. I have. Four of them currently.
They know extremely little of neatness. (Cleanliness is completely out of their realm of comprehension.)
Having a 7 year old, two 5 year olds, and a 3 year old in your house creates no chance for neatness.
Their own bedrooms and the playroom don’t bother me too bad at all, but the constant deposits of toys and such around the house can drive me nuts sometimes.
I walked through the house to go get another cup of coffee and saw each one of these scenes. I didn’t run into a single child, which is as rare feat. Just these remnents of their activities this morning.
As I poured my cup of coffee I thought: “When are these kids going to pick up after themselves!”
As soon as I thought that I thought: “Probably not till they are gone.”
Then my heart skipped and my stomach flipped: “What will my life be like without my kids?”
(Before you attempt to remind me that it is natural for them to grow up and go out, know that I am not begging God to pause time for my kids, or remind me that parenting is hard and that I will appreciate my kids being out of the house, or to just commit me straight to the psych ward for thinking such a thing…hold with me.)
As I sat there pondering a neat home with no kids in it God reminded me of a Proverb….
“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.”
Then in my mind I translated: “Where there are not 4 Little Carrolls, the home is neat, but abundant joy comes by the lives of these four.”
So God made me a little more okay with messiness today and little more appreciative of my family today.
I wonder how else God is going to use Proverbs 14:4 in my life.