My washing machine broke. This had me spinning because it was less than three years old. In fact, that was the problem. The machine would fill, suds, rinse, and then, instead of spinning, it would make a few demonic sounds, stop abruptly, and flash an error signal with an incessant ping that required me to stop whatever I was doing and unplug the machine.
Of course, it wasn’t the only thing that became unplugged because I was left to deal with 50 pounds of soaking wet clothes and piles of unwashed laundry. Worse, was the feeling that I had been betrayed by this costly machine which promised to turn shmuck into shine.
Long story longer, I spent 60 bucks for a repairman to tell me that it was a computer malfunction and I should just buy a new washing machine because none of them work for more than a few years and repairs are too expensive to justify. By this time, I was fantasizing about checking myself into a mental health facility. I figured they could do the laundry and make my meals while I take a long nap. Then maybe if I am up to it, I would play a game of Parcheesi with another guest.
My husband suggested a simpler (although less satisfying) solution and off we went to buy another washing machine. When I told the appliance salesperson about my trauma — figuring he was the next best thing to a trained mental health professional — he shrugged and said, “we live in a disposable society.”
That’s just it, isn’t it? We live in a world which is fleeting, temporary, and transitory. We like things quick and convenient to accommodate our speedy lives that resemble the fast forward button we once used on our VCRs before they became obsolete. We put our faith in machines, men, and metrics, and when they fail we feel cheated.
All the while, we have a God who is everlasting. He doesn’t break down but can pick up the pieces when we do. He isn’t temporal but eternal. If we are willing to buy into his commandment – to love him above all and love our neighbor as ourselves – we too can move beyond the disposable world we live in into the eternal. His commandment is so simple and beautiful and pays way more than it costs.
Like an overzealous salesperson, I might have gotten carried away with the last sentence. Because really, it isn’t always simple to follow his commandment. It requires sacrifice, obedience, and selflessness, all of which can be a hard sell when competing against the deities of the disposable. The messages of here and now can be consuming, carrying a sense of self-inflated significance which distract us from the everlasting.
When we focus on the busyness of better, next, and more, we forget to consider what is and always will be – a God whose love and providence is unconditional, unending, and unsolicited. The free will clause in the contract means God isn’t going to compete. He isn’t going to force us to buy into something we don’t want. In a world where the customer is king, God wants us to choose for ourselves whether he will be our king.
It’s a choice we make daily when we love and serve others. It’s a choice which leads to everlasting life. “My father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you I was going to prepare a place for you?” (NIV John 14:2) Certainly, that place will be worth any temporal sacrifice we have to make to get there. Besides, there is no laundry in heaven.
I wrote this a few months ago, so when a dear friend told me about her broken washer this weekend I decided it was time to post! Support group forming soon. In the meantime, isn’t it wonderful thinking of all that awaits us?
Read last week’s post.