Tyler pointed to a cluttered spot in the living room.
“Mommy, when is Olga coming? We need her.”
Olga is our Superhero Housecleaning Goddess. (I long to address the check to her with that title.)
But Olga does not come to our house every other week so she may pick up my children’s collection of unkempt toys. Nope. My kids will need to go ahead and take responsibility for their own messes.
Olga polishes away the effects of people and life in our house, but not our careless decisions. She’s not there to organize the toy shelf or make the beds. (Although she does an incomparable tidy of the top bunk, better than anyone I know.)
“Nope, Tyler. You need to take care of that situation on your own please.” There ensued the conversation of why we have a housekeeper if she isn’t there to make his life easier.
I’ve given this more thought. Forgive me if I am over spiritualizing, but I can’t ignore this parallel.
If Olga comes along and cleans up after Tyler’s every wayward toy and spilled drink, he’ll grow up without an understanding of how to do this himself. He’ll grow up with the expectation that such a partnership is part of life. He won’t realize that messes don’t clean themselves, and he won’t appreciate the gift of someone who could do it for him.
This makes me think of living by grace or by the law, of what it would be like to try to keep my life and my thoughts clean enough to deserve God’s love.
(Stay with me here.)
In Genesis, God gave Abraham the promise of righteousness, the gift of eternity with God, as a result of Abraham’s faith. The gift of grace was there all along; Abraham only needed to believe, and he received a promise on behalf of all of us who would believe after him.
Then the Israelites traveled a million miles in forty years with Moses, and God gave Moses the Law: The Ten Commandments, which really seem to be the Top Ten of all the countless rules they followed to earn God’s favor. (See Leviticus for the suffocating list of can-and-cannots.)
And then we started to overthink things, and people still wonder which is true: the promise of grace by faith, or the promise of redemption through the Law? Can we really receive eternal life by simply believing, or is there much more to do?
After all, both are present in the Bible, and the people of the Old Testament spent a lot of time measuring their actions to see how they measured up.
They never could.
That’s why God gave them The Law: so they could see how wayward they were, how many mistakes they made each day, how incapable they were of perfect righteousness. He gave them The Law to show them their sin.
So later, when he gave his son as a gift to the world, essentially, he offered them a metaphorical cleaning lady.
All this mess you’ve been trying to keep up and hide and sweep under the couch and stuff into the closet? You don’t have to worry about that anymore. I’m sending you a better plan that will make everything easier on you.
But you wouldn’t have appreciated it unless you had spent years trying to polish away each spot and blemish that kept popping up again anyway. My grace was there all along, all the way back to that promise to Abraham, but I gave you the Law so you could appreciate the gift when the Law was erased.
All you have to do is call on me. You only need to believe.
(I only need to call Olga, and the impossible is done: my baseboards are polished, my ceiling fan is dusted, and my floors shine like they never would have otherwise.)
And even if the rest of this is a stretch, two things are true:
My kids will need to put their own toys away and clean up after themselves until they are old enough to hire (and thereby appreciate!) a Superhero Housecleaning Goddess of their own,
and I believe Olga is evidence of God’s grace in my life. :)