Skip to main content

God as a Cleaner!

What woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?
- JESUS

That statement is from Luke 15:8. Actually, my answer to the Lord's rhetorical question has always been no. I do not know such a woman. Not one who does all three things as stated. I can see why the woman lights the lamp (it is dark) and seeks diligently until she finds it (it is worth something). But I can't see why she decides to sweep the house in the middle of searching for a coin! And clearly late in the day or more likely at night!

As someone who grew up in a village, I struggle to even imagine these three actions taking place at once! The reason is obvious. Sweeping takes time and distracts from the purpose of searching. But not only that if it is not done properly, depending on what we are looking for, it even leads to mistakenly throwing away other things!

And yet this woman in the Lord's statement does just that. Has the Lord just included it for rhetorical flourish? Just as a piece of unnecessary detail that keeps the story flowing and helps us focus on the bigger point of his parable? Perhaps, but I am more inclined to think that the brevity of the parable (one the shortest parables) and the authorship alone are enough for us to take time out and ponder a bit further. Words in this parable appear to matter significantly.

Why is this woman sweeping? Is she killing two birds with one stone? Or is the woman too unfocused? And what is she sweeping? The answer of course is that the house is dirty. We sweep to clean dust. The lost coin is among the dirt. It is a dirty house and in need of a good broom. This woman not only wishes to find the coin but bring order and cleanliness to her house.

The house here represents God's world. The image of God as a woman looking for a coin is one of a God who pursues the lost sinner against all odds. The image of a woman sweeping the house therefore becomes an image of a God who passionately seeks to save the sinner and has time for dealing with the dirt or scum of the earth. God is in every sense of the word is the ultimate cleaner or street sweeper! And this is precisely what God says through Zephaniah in his opening words of the prophecy :
I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” says the Lord. “I will sweep away people and animals alike. I will sweep away the birds of the sky and the fish in the sea. I will reduce the wicked to heaps of rubble, and I will wipe humanity from the face of the earth,” says the Lord. (Zephaniah 1:2, 3)
But lest we think it is all just about sweeping, God ends by saying through Zephaniah :
For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. On that day I will gather you together and bring you home again. I will give you a good name, a name of distinction, among all the nations of the earth, as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Zephaniah 3:17, 20)
Like the woman in the lost coin, the God of Zephaniah saves and rejoices over His people with songs! And yet He is also the God who sweeps away the wicked. Next time you see your mother or sister or wife cleaning the house, it must be a reminder of this great God who sweeps the rubble of sin away. And yes, even street cleaners and bin collectors are images of a God who will one day clean our world and make all things new.

Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2013

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Only Junkhearts Allowed!

There's a powerful scene in a recent British movie Junkhearts , which tells a story of an ex-soldier Frank (Eddie Marsan). Frank is haunted by an incident in Northern Ireland where he accidentally shot a woman in a failed military operation. He lives a lonely existence drowning his nightmares with booze in a council flat in London's East End. One day he meets a homeless 16 year old girl Lynette (Candese Reid) whom he offers a place to stay. Unfortunately, after building a father-daughter camaraderie, it is rudely disrupted by the entrance of Lynette’s manipulative, violent and drug-dealing boyfriend Danny (Tom Sturridge). In the process Danny takes over the flat forcing the broken Frank onto the streets. A sharp reverse occurs with Frank now living on the very streets that Lynnett escape from, whilst Lynnette and her boyfriend enjoy his flat. As Frank remembers the memories he had with Lynette, he decides to come back for her, only to find her scrubbing the bathroom flo

Love, Valerian and Christ

The film  Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) is set in the 28th Century. The International Space Station (ISS) has grown into a space travelling city called Alpha where species from different planets live together exchanging their knowledge and culture. Peace is guaranteed by a special police force, that employs Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne).  In one of the key scenes in the film, Valerian and Laureline are at Alpha. An alien race, called the Pearls, have abducted Commander Arun Filitt in order to retrieve a valuable instrument they call “the converter”. As they face off with the Pearls we discover that the Pearls are a victim of genocife inflicted by the human federation.  The Pearls' leader, Emperor Haban Limaï, explains that they lived peacefully on Mül until a battle occurred between the Federation and another faction. Commander Filitt attacked the enemy mothership knowing that it would crash on Mül and  annihilate life o

Do You Believe? A Review

I have always enjoyed reading the writings of Paul David Tripp (PDT). What I like most about the way he writes is that he focuses on the good news of Christ. He wants us to know how amazing God is and what He has done for us in the Lord Jesus Christ. So when I saw that PDT has written a new book on key doctrines of the Bible,  I was quite eager to read it, even though it is over 400 pages.   Do You Believe?   is exactly what it says on the tin. PDT looks at twelve key bible doctrines over twenty-four chapters. He spends two chapters on each doctrine. The first chapter describes the broad thrust of the doctrine, underpinned by PDT’s paraphrase of the relevant section of the  Westminster Confession of Faith . The second chapter focuses on specific applications to our lives.  There are important doctrines which are missed from the list. Most notably on the person and saving of Christ (Christology). However, PDT is clear from the beginning that his intention is “not to give us an exhaustiv