.....courtesy of Elisabeth Elliott:
It is not easy to find children or adults who are dependable, careful, thorough, and faithful. So many lives seem honeycombed with small failures, neglectful of the little things that make the difference between order and chaos. Perhaps it is because they are so seldom taught that visible things are signs of an invisible reality; that common duties may be "an immeasurable ministry of love." The spiritual training of souls must be inseparable from practical disciplines, as Jesus so plainly taught; "The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches! And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?" (Luke 16:10-12, JB)
It's hard for us to think that that unmade bed, or that messy car, might be a visible sign of a not so nice invisible reality, isn't it? But I know that in my case it is certainly and completely true. When I allow all the little things in my life to get out of control, it is only a sign that the interior of my life is out of control as well.
I don't know if it is the chicken or the egg. But when I make the effort to do the small things that keep our family life on track--timely washed clothes (not washed in panic or to order), decent meals (not just something grabbed at random), a picked up and organized house (not one that you have to hunt through the piles to find the play tickets) it seems like the whole of our lives, including our spiritual lives, run better.
So whether the spiritual malaise comes first, leading to the messy house, or the messy house comes first, leading to the spiritual messiness, it really doesn't matter. Getting the environment in order puts the rest in order. I know it's possible to have a vibrant spiritual life in the midst of chaos. But I wonder. Is it possible to have a vibrant spiritual life in the midst of self-created clutter?