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Ann Farabee: Clean up

Teaching kindergarten was so much fun! Some say it feels like trying to keep 25 ping pong balls under water at one time. Some say it is like trying to herd cats. But, for me, the daily buzz of activity with a crowd of five year olds was an adventure.

My students loved when our ‘morning work’ was finished, and I began singing this song: Clean up. Clean up. Everybody clean up.

It was magical. They would stop immediately and clean up. Books were put on shelves, trash was collected, crayons were organized, cubbies straightened up…as we all sang happily. What more could a teacher ask for?

Students would then wash their hands, and go to their seat to await further instructions.

They knew what those further instructions would be: lunch and recess.

They knew that when they cleaned up, something good was coming their way.

They knew they could not get to the ‘something good’ until they cleaned up.

Got that?

I must admit that on occasion, objects were returned to the wrong location – or even hidden intentionally – like the handful of marbles ‘hidden’ in the toilet one day. When I asked the student why he put them there, his response was, “Because I didn’t want to clean up.” I guess that explained it.

I think we all do that at times. No – not toss marbles in the toilet – but hide things in our lives that we really do not want to clean up.

Yes, I guess it all comes down to our heart condition.

In Psalm 51:10, David said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God: renew a right spirit within me.” David wanted to clean up! We know he meant business, because he followed up that request in Psalm 51:12 by asking for the joy of his salvation to be restored.

In Psalm 24:4-5, David wrote that he who has clean hands and a pure heart will receive blessings from the Lord.

If God did it for David – betrayer, liar, adulterer, murderer, giant killer, poet, shepherd, man after God’s own heart – I believe God will do it for us, too.

So, what’s our heart condition? We know. And God knows.

Sometimes, we just need to clean up – and let the peace of God rule our hearts.

It is simple enough that even a five year old could understand: If we clean up, God will give us further instructions, and something good will come our way.

And… as nice as lunch and recess sounds, what we receive will be even better!








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