Don’t Preach If You Can’t Bleach

Today my duty was cleaning the bathroom. Like a good Christian boy, I put it off as long as I could, whined about it to God, and eventually went to the supply cupboard to start cleaning.


One of the most servant-hearted guys I know.

I live in a house with ten other guys. That sentence alone makes some people shudder. Fortunately, we all have our weekly chores to do to keep the house in prime shape so it doesn’t stink too bad.

Today my duty was cleaning the bathroom. Like a good Christian boy, I put it off as long as I could, whined about it to God, and eventually went to the supply cupboard to start cleaning. I bleached the shower, wiped the counters, and swept the floor. It was not until I was kneeling before the toilet, scrubbing at those mystery stains (God knows what species they came from) that I felt God saying something to me.

The thoughts were in my head,

I graduated from one of the top Bible schools in America….

I have preached at multiple churches….

I can exegete like Piper, make people laugh like Dane Cook and cry like Oprah….

So why am I spending time scrubbing a toilet?

I paused my scrubbing and held the moist sponge for a moment. Suddenly adrift in conviction, I gazed into my toilet bowl.

I remembered the story in John 13 where Jesus, this small-time preacher you may have heard of, get on His hands and knees and washed His disciples’ feet. It was not beneath Him to scrub at the nastiest grime on the lowest part of a person. He didn’t grumble or complain about having to serve His friends.

No, He voluntarily came as a servant. Philippians 2 says that He gave up His rights as God in order to come to earth as a man and save us. He humbled Himself. The Greek is from the word kenosis, which means ‘the self-emptying.’ Jesus emptied Himself of all the riches of heaven in order to come and……wash feet? Be tortured and killed?

It doesn’t make sense to a human mind.

I recently had a conversation with a leader in a church who said that she wants to see people take out the trash before she gives them a microphone. I think it’s beautiful when someone doesn’t see themselves as being ‘above’ chores, but serves with a willing heart.

Those are the types of people I want to hear speak. They are the ones I want to follow.

Sure, you may have a Masters of Divinity, or a PhD in Theology, but can you wash dishes? Can you serve soup to people who don’t deserve it? Jesus didn’t seem to think He was above these tasks, and if anyone was, it was Him.

Not only that, but Jesus, the Servant, changed and saved the world and the entire history of mankind. If we think we can only change the world through powerful messages, strong leadership, and sound doctrine, maybe we should look again at what Jesus did. 

Maybe we should get out the kneepads and start scrubbing.


4 comments on “Don’t Preach If You Can’t Bleach

  1. David Smith

    Great stuff. Thx, and hope you’re loving it out here.


  2. So true, I always said he humbled and humiliated himself why can’t we


  3. Some of my closest moments to God were when I was scrubbing toilets in the church. I served as sexton for several years. Thanks for the reminder….


  4. Oh wow. I live in a house with three guys (my house, and my choice) but have some of the same feelings. Thank you helping to crystalize these thoughts for me.


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