From “The Lizard Lounge” Series on I Am the Clay
clothesline [klohz-lahyn] noun 1. a strong, narrow rope, cord, wire, etc., usually
stretched between two poles on which clean laundry is hung to dry. 2. A way to cut
your power bill AND your waistline in half. (“in half” may be exaggerating a bit…)
Other than hitting a lick or two at writing a book, it was quiet here at the “Lizard Lounge” this past summer. (If you’re new to “I Am the Clay,” take a second and follow that link to find out where that name came from. You can also click here for the whole series.) That’s either a good thing or a bad thing, as it quite possibly means I haven’t done diddly squat around here—except for the laundry. (Those are my clothes in the picture above.) All is not lost, though—the most mundane activities can often inspire a blog post.
Who knew my earthly home could teach me so much about the journey toward my heavenly one…?
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I have a clothesline—and use it regularly instead of the clothes dryer. (I also wash dishes by hand and don’t use a dishwasher—on purpose.) So there.
Oh, I hear you thinking, What are you, some kind of hippy, tree-hugging, off-the-grid, antiestablishment, pinko commie liberal prepper? If God had intended us to NOT use the clothes dryer He wouldn’t have created Bounce fabric softener sheets. And don’t get me started on the dishwasher thing…
(Hey, now—that’s uncalled for.) Hear me out. Consider this:
- Clothes dryers use a la-hot of electricity.
- Hanging out the laundry burns calories. (not pointing fingers or anything, but…)
- You can’t beat that fresh (and free) great-outdoors smell.
So there are more reasons TO use a clothesline than to NOT use one. Especially for me.
First off, I don’t have a lot of laundry; it’s just me, and I have a high tolerance for sleeping on not-recently-laundered sheets and re-wearing unlaundered stuff for, well, a while. With no one else to worry about, it’s like really casual Friday every day around here. Take off the jeans and shirt I wore to work, fold them up (neatly) to wear a bunch more times, and grab the same old pair of baggy (but aaaah-so-comfortable) bummin’ around shorts and call it “dressed.” Who’s to know?
(Besides all of you, now. I promise that any overnight guests get clean sheets and towels. I didn’t mention reusing my towel, did I? Just ignore that and keep reading. These are not the droids you’re looking for…)
Plus, being as it’s always summer down here in Florida, things dry really fast outside. Sometimes the first things I hang out are dry by the time I finish hanging out the last things. And since I have my clothesline hanging in the carport under cover, weather is never really an issue. A little sprinkle will have no effect whatsoever on laundry day.
If you decide to put up a clothesline, though, don’t get all nostalgic and use wooden clothes pins. It’s cute and “Country Living” and all, but they sometimes leave little stain spots on wet clothes—then what was the point? I have all my plastic clothes pins in a Home Depot nail apron. That way, if someone drops by while I’m getting my domestic on, I can pretend to be adding a room on to the house or putting up new siding.
BUT… Just know that, when you hang all your stuff outside on a clothesline, ebbody can see it: sheets, towels, skivvies—the whole shebang. For me, that isn’t a problem, as I have nice sheets and cool socks and am a high-end underwear-er. If anybody wanna take a peek at my ‘spensive undies, knock yourself out—they’re flapping in the breeze every other Saturday. I’m not ashamed.
Other than camping out to sneak a peek at my unmentionables, though (which would just be weird—don’t do that), it’s doubtful anyone else will ever see my cool calzoncillos in their native environment—they’ll be securely hidden ‘neath my pantalones. So if you’re going to own expensive underwear, you may as well have a clothesline; otherwise, who’s gonna see ‘em? (Without getting yourself in all kinds of trouble with the Lord, that is. Unless it’s your spouse, who—depending on how long you’ve been married—would probably rather have a new iPhone than see you in high-end “delicates;” or your buddies in the gym locker room, who would probably rather not have to gouge their eyes out.) All that undergarment-y goodness is just going to remain hidden.
Which, in the end, is probably good, as some things just ought to be kept to yourself. Some things oughtn’t—be kept to yourself, that is. Some things need to be hauled out in public—mixed company, even—and shared and discussed; things like, say, the good news of Jesus.
I don’t know if Jesus (or anyone else in His time) even wore underwear, but He certainly had plenty of other, more life-changing stuff to hang out on the line, stuff we usually refer to as “the gospel,” a word we get from the Old English word gōdspel: “gōd” meaning “good” and “spel” meaning “tale.” The gospel of Jesus is definitely a “good tale,” but a true tale and not a tall one.
Not only did Jesus bring us a good tale, He told us to get off our tails and tell that tale:
“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
I don’t know any way to read that other than literally. He told his disciples to start telling the good tale in Jerusalem, spiral outward, and end up…here: in Central Florida. Or there: wherever you are.
Paul, a later addition to the apostolic band, took that command literally as well. He spent his post-encounter-with-Jesus life witnessing to anyone who would listen. Even when he was in prison—which was often—he would write letters about the gōdspel.
Paul was always eager to share the good tale of Jesus Christ, and told the church in Rome:
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes… Romans 1:16 NIV
“Salvation to everyone who believes.” Everyone. Ebbody. All y’all.
What forgiven sinner, after receiving that amazing, free gift of salvation, wouldn’t want to exercise Jesus’ imperative to “witness” and share that amazing gift with all y’all?
Most of us forgiven sinners, that’s who. Would that I had the same attitude about sharing the gospel as I do about my “delicates.” One of those two I’m not ashamed to hoist up the flagpole in front of God and country; the other one I fumble over like I’d just as soon push you over the cliff into hell rather than give you directions for getting out.
Blogging and writing about what God has done for me and can do for others is great and has the potential to spread my country-boy message to people from China, Nigeria, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Poland, Hungary, Turkey. Seriously—my blog statistics say all of those countries have citizens who have visited “I Am the Clay.” (The Hungary click is from some young missionary friends from church, but I’m still counting it. I hope my Turkish visitor isn’t off-put by my underwear story…) But besides long distance Kiwis, Poles, and Turks, those right-in-front-o’-your-face/in-the-moment encounters with people who desperately need Jesus are just as important—maybe even more so.
People who desperately need Jesus, like…
…the Ethiopian official in Acts 8, for example. Philip, a convert to Christianity who was described as being “full of the Spirit and wisdom” found himself on a dirt road out in the desert talking to this influential man from Ethiopia sitting up in his chariot and reading Isaiah’s blog. (sort of)
“Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” Acts 8:30-31
Exactly. And living and acting like a believer is great and expected of us, but it’s not enough. Whoever wrote this pithy little bon mot ought to be whipped:
“Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.”
It’s ALWAYS necessary to use words. Jesus didn’t say “Get out there and wear your diamond-studded cross pin and your Jesus fish on your keyring and your ‘I ♥ my church’ bumper sticker on your car…to the ends of the earth.” He said to talk about it, to be His witnesses, to share that good tale. With ebbody.
Look around—shootings, stabbings, hatred, vehicles used as weapons. And that’s just this morning. I’m not a pessimist when I tell you that Jesus said it isn’t going to get any better. He talks at length about what it will be like near the end. He said that…
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold…” Matthew 24:12
That means that many of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, loved ones, people in line in front of us at the grocery store are just a crazy person in a rental truck with a foot on the gas pedal away from dying without Jesus.
He goes on to give us hope, though. In the very next verse Jesus says…
“But the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:13
However, Paul adds a caveat:
How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? Romans 10:14
And we’re right back where we started: hang it on the clothesline for everyone to see—i.e., be Jesus’ witnesses to the ends of the earth—or dry it in the dryer in the comfort and privacy of the laundry room—i.e., be ashamed, forgiven sinners who keep that amazing, free gift of salvation all to ourselves.
Are you ashamed? Am I?
Jesus said that…
“Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:26
I don’t want that. I want to say “me too” to Paul:
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…
I want to channel that power, to see somebody believe because I wasn’t ashamed.
Let’s be unashamed of the gospel: let’s live it, let’s believe it, but—most important—let’s proclaim it. For it…
…brings salvation to everyone who believes…
Clothesline or dryer—what’s it gonna be…?
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