“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” is a series of church worker wellness devotions. Visit lcms.org/wellness for more resources.

By Darrell Zimmerman, pastor and program director at Grace Place Wellness Ministries

The mop and bucket

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10 KJV)

Everybody spills, but nobody likes to clean up the mess. How’s that working out at your house?

The commitment we make when taking our marriage vows is “for better or for worse.” When I think of what my wife endures being married to a guy like me, the “better” seems too rare and the “worse” is my default mode.

I have a natural tendency toward self. The relationship often slips to second place somewhere way back there behind “I want …”

Relationships are prone to those kinds of spills, whether at home or in the life of the body of Christ.

I think relational well-being is characterized quite nicely by the bucket and the mop. Here’s why.

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” says the prophet Isaiah (1:18).

The forgiving grace of Christ is well-suited to a scrubbing, cleansing analogy. I see far too much mud-slinging in church life, and it always does damage to relationships.

In our marriages, it’s usually a bit more subtle: the word ignored, the little off-handed and sarcastic jab, the whining under the breath about carrying more than my load.

When splattered, who mops up?

The grace of God is on display when I’m willing to say, “I caused the mess.”

We start fresh when we confess and make amends, picking up the mop and washing up, starting new.

Moms get this. If the fruit of the Spirit is patience, our mothers were certainly Spirit-led when they grabbed the mop, over and over, recognizing that a healthy, tidy house came about when someone willingly, patiently, daily, and repeatedly cleaned it up. Again.

Many of us learned about Jesus’ love by watching the grace inherent in being a mother. This might be a good week to thank her.

And relationships are dependent on the servant’s heart to keep them healthy, vibrant, compassionate, kind, and caring.

Tension and anxiety around the house or in the church is an opportunity for someone to grab the mop and unleash the cleansing, scrubbing, forgiving grace of Jesus.

Pride waits on someone else. The servant treasures the joy of a healthy, forgiving relationship and says, “Let me.”

The Gospel is about cleansing. Relationships are about finding a way through the messiness of life together. Discipleship is about humbly tending to the relationship with the cleansing Gospel of Christ.

We honor Jesus and live out our Baptism when we live in forgiveness.

The Rev. Dr. Darrell Zimmerman was called in 2012 to serve as the first full-time program director of Grace Place Wellness Ministries. Zimmerman and his wife, Carol, attended the first Grace Place retreat in 1999, and he has 30-plus years of parish pastoral experience.

“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” devotions and prayers will be released Monday mornings on the LCMS Facebook and Twitter pages. Church Worker Wellness devotions will also be archived online.

LCMS church workers and their families are invited to offer encouragement to other workers and families by submitting a 500-word devotion for the Synod’s worker-to-worker wellness devotion series. Email questions and submissions to workerwellness@lcms.org.