The Beauty of Having Your Mind in the Gutter
“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”– John 7:37-39
The home that I grew up in was surrounded by a large amount of trees. This in turn led to a large amount of debris within the gutter system attached to the house. Growing up, often I helped with the task of cleaning them out. Over a period of time, twigs, leaves, acorns, and (believe it or not) soil collectively clogged up the drainage pans and the gutter spouts. There were aspects of this particular task that are forever lodged in my memory. And they are things that offer spiritual implications to the Christian life for us to ponder together.
First, the gutters were covered with guards. The guards consisted of small holes which allowed rain water to pass through with ease. But they also served as a filter of sorts, deflecting larger debris from falling into the gutters. Yet these shields were not fault proof. I was always amazed by the amount of debris larger than the fine holes on the shield that somehow still passed through. So too it is with the Christian life. We can place all sorts of safeguards within our lives to shield us from sin, yet no matter how many filters we place over our lives, we are still vulnerable to the whiles of the devil, and can allow sin to slip through the cracks. One year in particular, I failed to get the gutters clean. The next spring, there was so much soil and debris compacted in one section of the gutters that a small baby tree had sprouted up. Obviously the conditions had been just right for a fallen acorn to take root and do its thing. Oh how we must make sure that the soil of our hearts does not provide favorable conditions for Satan to cultivate a garden of weeds!
This leads to my second point; cleaning the gutters out just once was never enough. The gutters had to be maintained on a regular basis. If not, the buildup of debris over time would slow down and eventually stop the flow of any rainwater. Such neglect could lead to other problems such as rust, erosion, and leaks. This can be compared to the continual maintenance required for the Christian life. We must keep watch (Matthew 26:40-41). Sin eats away at us, and if not dealt with can lead to residual effects. Therefore, we must keep check and stay clean before God. If not, we can succumb to the contaminating effects of sin, and a buildup of sin in our life will only hinder our service to the Lord and stifle the flow of the Holy Spirit’s work within our lives. When cleaning the gutters, running water always had to be used, especially when cleaning out the down spouts. It was never enough to simply remove the debris by hand. Some portions of the gutter system were just unreachable. So too, we can try to clean out as much junk in our life on our own, but only the free flowing waters of the Holy Spirit of God offer the proper purging.
Oh what a glorious thing to know that our gracious God chose to scrape us out of the murky gutters of the world and plant our feet on solid ground (Psalm 40:1)! It is also wonderful to know that God the Holy Spirit is available to us as we go through the sanctification process, and are daily set apart for service to God. Finally, I pray that having my mind in the gutter has served as an encouragement to you. Ponder these life lessons today, and ask God to give you the eyes to see and ears to hear His truth in the unique illustration!
– Pastor Eric