The Lesson of the Washcloth
By: Joan Benson, 1.cbn.com
My longtime friend came for lunch, bounding in the door, effusing hugs and giggles with her signature enthusiasm for life. We hadn’t seen each other in-person for several years, but as friends and sisters in Christ, we shared a history that spanned a few milestone-filled decades.
Anne handed me a small gift bag made of colorful cloth, ribbon-tied with flair. At her request, I emptied it onto the counter. Most of the items were practical, yet thoughtful goodies, including a devotional and Scripture verse. My eyes fell to a curious piece of knitting, a small rectangle of dark green yarn. Explaining how she was just learning to knit, Anne proudly held up her first project, a “washcloth.” As she dangled the stitching between us, two rather sizable holes became obvious – not lacey, planned holes for effect. These were irregularly spaced holes where stitches had been accidentally lost.
“I don’t know how those holes got in there,” she announced with an infectious laugh. Thanking her for her thoughtfulness, we went on to enjoy our short time together as couples – eating, sharing, and celebrating friendship.
All too soon, it was time to part. When final goodbyes were said and our friends pulled away, I reached for the small swatch of knitting once more. I was genuinely moved, but I wasn’t sure why. And then I began to understand its significance. Anne had entrusted me with her handiwork – though it was flawed. Would I have taken that risk, or would my pride have overruled?
The Bible tells us,
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, Colossians 3:12,” (NLT).
I had witnessed my friend’s spiritual fruit in action.
Tears bubbled up as I realized that Anne also trusted me with her imperfection. She wasn’t looking for my approval. This small green square of knitting was a reminder of our long-held friendship, a journey not without its own trials and breaches of understanding. Just as Laban declared in Genesis 31:48: “This pile of stones will stand as a witness to remind us of the covenant we have made today, (NLT)” I knew the washcloth stood as a witness of our covenant relationship. Though not perfect, we were bound together in Christ’s love and forgiveness.
The Lord continued to layer His truths into my heart. What joy that we can come before the Heavenly Throne as imperfect products, flawed by sin, while our Heavenly Father sees us through the filter of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes,” Ephesians 1:4 (NLT).
When we ask for forgiveness, despite our “holes,” our sins, Father God cherishes us as His children. Indescribable grace and mercy!
“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins,” Ephesians 1:7 (NLT).
It became clear that this little washcloth was much more than it would appear. It represented the way God has shown us to live in relationship with one another in the Body of Christ – with humility, trust, and love. It also shouted grace, mercy, and forgiveness – highlighting the loving Covenant with Father God. I knew then that this washcloth would not be used for washing dishes, but for teaching me how to live. Who would have imagined so much truth would be woven into a simple knitted washcloth?
“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)
Editor’s note: Jesus Calling is a #1 New York Times bestselling devotional loved the world over. It’s filled with hope, encouragement, comfort, and the reassurance of Jesus’ unending love. The kids’ editions are written just like the adult versions… in the voice of Jesus Himself. Every entry has Scripture to read and memorize.
Let Me Be Your Everything
I am the vine, and you are the branches. If a person remains in me and I remain in him, then he produces much fruit. But without Me he can do nothing. — John 15:5 ICB
Come to Me when you’re hurting, and I will soothe your pain. Come to Me when you’re filled with Joy, and I will multiply it many times over. I am everything you need, just when you need it.
Television personalities, books, and magazines tell you to watch this or read this, and all your problems will be fixed. You can do it! they say. Be confident! Be strong! Do it all on your own! Put yourself first! But all of this is a trick by the evil one to keep you away from Me. If he can keep you from drawing on My Power, he wins — and you lose.
I have called you to live differently from the world — to depend on Me to meet all your needs. That’s where you’ll find true confidence and strength.
Let Me be your everything. I am all you need.
READ ON YOUR OWN
It All Starts With Me
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. — Genesis 1:1
It all starts with Me — the universe, the earth, your life. And now I want your day to start with Me.
Look around at all the things I have created. The thousands of different animals and birds. The millions of different flowers and trees. A new sunset every day for thousands of years. I am the most creative Being imaginable. And I want to pour some of that same creativity into your life.
Many people get so caught up in their own plans for the future that they don’t see the choices they need to make each day. They just sleepwalk through their days, following the same old boring paths. But if you live close to Me, I will lead you along fresh trails of adventure — showing you new, exciting things.
Don’t worry about what’s on the road up ahead — or which way you should go. When you get to a choice-point, I will help you choose the right way. Stay close to Me, and I will guide you step by step.
READ ON YOUR OWN
Who I Am
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins. — Matthew 1:21
I am God with you. You hear about this so often in church. But don’t ever let it become ordinary. Don’t ever stop living in awe of Me.
Stop and think for a moment about who I am. My Name is Jesus. It means “the Lord saves.” I save you. I save you from the troubles and despair of this world. And I save you from your sins for all eternity.
I am also Immanuel, which means “God with us.” God with you. I am always with you, and I’m always waiting to hear from you. Tell me about whatever makes you happy, whatever upsets you, whatever is on your mind.
Don’t ever get so used to Me that you forget the wonder of who I am or the Joy of knowing Me — the God and Creator of all the universe.
Light at evening time
“It shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.” Zechariah 14:7
God very frequently acts in grace in such a manner that we can find a parallel in nature. For instance, God says, “… as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, … so shall my word be, …it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” We find him speaking concerning the coming of Christ, “He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.” We find him likening the covenant of grace to the covenant which he made with Noah concerning the seasons, and with man concerning the different revolutions of the year—“Seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” We find that the works of creation are very frequently the mirror of the works of grace, and that we can draw figures from the world of nature to illustrate the great acts of God in the world of his grace towards his people. But sometimes God oversteps nature. In nature after evening comes night. The sun has had its hours of journeying; the fiery steeds are weary; they must rest. Lo, they descend the azure steeps and plunge their burning fetlocks in the western sea, while night in her dark chariot follows at their heels. God, however, oversteps the rule of nature. He is pleased to send to his people times when the eye of reason expects to see no more day, but fears that the glorious landscape of God’s mercies will be shrouded in the darkness of his forgetfulness. But instead, God overleaps nature, and declares that at evening time, instead of darkness there shall be light.
For meditation: The text has only ever been true on one occasion in a physical sense (Joshua 10:12-14), but God, to whom even the darkness is light (Psalm 139:12), is always repeating the event spiritually in the lives of his people.
Streams In The Desert
By: L. B. Cowman
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full (John 16:24).
During the Civil War, a man had an only son who enlisted in the armies of the Union. The father was a banker and, although he consented to his son’s going, it seemed as if it would break his heart to let him go.
He became deeply interested in the soldier boys, and whenever he saw a uniform, his heart went out as he thought of his own dear boy. He spent his time, neglected his business, gave his money to caring for the soldiers who came home invalid. His friends remonstrated with him, saying he had no right to neglect his business and spend so much thought upon the soldiers, so he fully decided to give it all up.
After he had come to this decision, there stepped into his bank one day a private soldier in a faded, worn uniform, who showed in his face and hands the marks of the hospital. The poor fellow was fumbling in his pocket to get something or other, when the banker saw him and, perceiving his purpose, said to him: “My dear fellow, I cannot do anything for you today. I am extremely busy. You will have to go to your headquarters; the officers there will look after you.”
Still the poor convalescent stood, not seeming to fully understand what was said to him. Still he fumbled in his pockets and, by and by, drew out a scrap of dirty paper, on which there were a few lines written with a pencil, and laid this soiled sheet before the banker. On it he found these words:
“Dear Father: “This is one of my comrades who was wounded in the last fight, and has been in the hospital. Please receive him as myself. –Charlie.”
In a moment all the resolutions of indifference which this man made, flew away. He took the boy to his palatial home, put him in Charlie’s room, gave him Charlie’s seat at the table, kept him until food and rest and love had brought him back to health, and then sent him back again to imperil his life for the flag.
Now you will see what I will do (Exodus 6:1).