Last week, as I was preparing to grill burgers for dinner, I reached for the package of buns which had been placed on top of the refrigerator. Before I even untied the wire twist-tie, my eyes caught a glimpse of somehing. Ugh. Spots of a fuzzy, greenish-white mold were peppered on the doughy suraces of two of the six rolls!
What do you think I did: 1.) discarded the two moldy buns and used the other for our meal; or 2.) tossed the entire bag into the garbage? If you chose the second option, you are correct! I was not taking a chance on eating something that had been stored with damaged goods. Yuck!
God’s prophet Haggai uses an illustration which displays how influential these (clean vs. unclean) conditions can be. “If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said,’ No.’ Then said Haggai, ‘If one that is unclean by a dead body or touch any of these, shall it be unclean?’ And the priests answered and said, ‘It shall be unclean.’ Then answered Haggai, and said, ‘So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean.'”-Haggai 2:12-14
Is it possible for something clean (holy flesh), to rub off on what it comes into contact with (skirt of his garment)? Or, is it more likely that the unclean item–like my moldy bread–contaminates what was once spotless? In this Old Testament reference, Haggai was addressing the Israelite nation concerning the sincerity of their sacrificial offering/worship. Their outward observance of sacred rites appeared holy and well-intended, yet inwardly their hearts and lives were a contradictions. This type of approach could fool others, but certainly not the Lord!
As I meditated upon this passage, I began to see how this example has application concerning various aspects of our lives, especially when it comes to influences. Friendships have the potential to “rub off” on us, as do the activities, instruction and opinions we adhere to. Do we allow this pressure to alter our beliefs and actions? If so, we’ve become as ineffective as a spoiled piece of food.
A commitment to Christ requires sacrifice–we give up our own desires and choose to follow His Will for us. Our heart’s desire is to be holy just like Him; in other words, we want to remain clean and mold-free, useable for service–like my hamburger bun! Every day is a means whereby we reflect on the outside, what has taken place on the outside. If we can prioritize that as our goal each day, we will be allowing the garment of holiness to massage our spirits and affect others in the most beneficial way ever!