The kitchen is my favorite room in our home. It is a beautiful space, crafted to meet both my design tastes and functional preferences. But that is not the central reason that I love this room so much. I love it because my kitchen is where most of the meaningful moments that occur in my home start and end. And where most of my favorite conversations happen.
Around the table we share our lives in ways that are fun, important, celebratory, and sometimes even profound. But in the kitchen the conversations become much more intimate between smaller numbers of people. And so it becomes the place in my home where people are often their most vulnerable and authentic selves.
Last Sunday, this verse was illuminated on the large screens behind the pulpit of my church, and it beautifully describes the heart of what I want my kitchen to be:
In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing. (2 Timothy 2: 20-21, The Message)
My kitchen is a room that it lovely and inviting. But if it becomes just an attractive room to be admired, then I’ve missed the great potential of this space.
At it’s best, my kitchen is a place for the both the beauty and the messiness of our lives to be shared.
A room where food is thoughtfully prepared and lovingly presented to nourish the bodies and souls of the people that I care for deeply. As well as a space that is known and felt as a safe place for garbage to be exposed. A place where people are invited to talk about the dark or difficult muck that can pollute our thoughts, our hearts, and our souls. So that we can figure out how to effectively take the rubish out together.
And in my kitchen, I don’t want to just take our garbage out to the side yard where it is out of view. I want to walk along side someone – perhaps even helping to carry their container – as we bring it before our God who cleanses and renews our stained and weary hearts. A God who wants to take the garbage from our hands and replace it with His love, and His grace, and His mercy, and His name.
It is a great and wonderful privilege to hand someone the container they need that best fits their need for nourishment and cleansing. Whether it be a container of listening, love, friendship, prayer, scripture, affirmation, laughter, support, encouragement, comfort, counsel, or forgiveness. We just have to trust that all of these types of containers come in all shapes and sizes.
I also need to intentionally reach for the containers that I need, not just hand them out. I can’t effectively offer containers without also being transparent enough to let others see the ways my soul need to be nourished. As well as my garbage that needs to be disposed of. And I am so grateful for the people who will walk with me to the most glorious of trash pits where God is waiting to free me, heal me, and redeem me from fear, rebellion, and darkness that can threaten to overwhelm my soul.
Because cleansing, freedom, and renewal are the gifts that God desires to bless all of us with. And today I invite God – the most masterful of sanitation engineers – to dwell in my heart, in my kitchen, and in every container that He has furnished.