A little over a year ago, I made a life-changing discovery: the cleansing power of vinegar.
I had heard from others that vinegar was an amazing cleaning agent. I have friends who wash their windows and mirrors with vinegar. I have other friends who add vinegar to their laundry. And I have friends who use it (combined with various agents such as baking soda or dishwashing liquid) to clean a variety of surfaces (bathtubs, countertops, etc.).
I’m not particularly fond of the smell of vinegar, so I intentionally avoided using any of those cleaning tactics. For the most part, I was content with my nicely packaged store-bought cleaning supplies.
But then I became desperate. My glass dishes were foggy. Terribly foggy.
At first, I had no idea that vinegar might be a solution for this problem. I tried numerous dishwasher products (various detergents as well as rinse agents and glass cleaners). Then, I resorted to hand-washing. Again, trying a variety of products. Nothing I tried worked. The dishes remained cloudy.
I was at the point of throwing away these glass dishes and buying new ones. I knew they were “clean,” but I was hesitant to invite others over and use my dirty-looking dishes with them. I was embarrassed of their condition.
In this state of desperation, I began asking others for advice on my situation. Some people thought my dishes might be etched. If that was the case, there was nothing I could do about it. Others suggested many of the products and techniques I had already tried.
Finally, someone suggested vinegar. If my dishes were not etched, they informed me, then vinegar would take care of the problem. Not just wiping them in vinegar, but soaking them in vinegar.
Learily (I truly felt there was no hope for my poor dishes), I purchased a huge jug of vinegar. I filled a large bowl with the stinky substance and submerged one of my short glass cups into the vinegar. Then, I walked away.
Fifteen minutes later, I returned.
As I pulled the glass out of the bowl, I couldn’t believe my eyes: it was crystal clear! I was thrilled. Immediately, I began to soak cup after cup, bowl after bowl, and dish after dish. I could barely contain my excitement. I took before and after pictures. I called Randy at work. I showed my children the sparkly clean and clear glass dishes. If I was a more gregarious person, I would have shouted this good news from the mountaintops! Really.
Instead, I internally marvelled at the cleansing power of vinegar. As silly as this may seem, it truly was an amazing and exciting discovery. As I thought about my desire to shout this good news from the mountaintops, these words of an old song from childhood (“Pass it On”) came to mind:
I’ll shout it from the mountaintops! I want the world to know, The Lord of Life has come to me; I want to pass it on.
It’s funny how the little things of life strike you in unexpected ways. In my excitement about the power of vinegar and my desire to share it with others, I was struck (through the words of this song) with the analogy of vinegar to Christ.
To some this might seem like a stretch or simplistic, but it was insightful to me. I had looked everywhere for a solution. Everywhere except where the real solution was. And when I found the solution, it was so simple. And I realized I kind of knew about it all along. I had just never tried it. And it was so easy. Vinegar.
Kind of like Christ. It’s so easy to look for solutions everywhere else. Even though we’ve heard about Him. We know that He’s helped others. Even though we know He’s the best “cleaning agent” there is! Jesus may use experiences and other people (like vinegar may be combined with baking soda, dishwashing detergent, salt, etc. for the best results), but He’s the ultimate “Cleaning Agent.”
And the image of a cloudy glass alongside a crystal clear glass was powerful. It spoke volumes to me of the work of Christ in our lives…in my life.
The thing that struck me the most, though, was my great excitement and desire to share this good news about vinegar. Do I have the same desire to share the good news about something ~ Someone ~ even better than vinegar? Am I as excited about the life-giving and life-changing ways of a relationship with Jesus as I was about the “life-changing ways” of vinegar?
Convicted in the kitchen. When I least expected it, in the most unexpected way.
When I clean with vinegar, my Lord, I pray, that you would remind me of Your cleansing power and give me the courage ~ and opportunities ~ to share You with others.