The Sink is Filling…

Ben Schoettel   -  


By no means am I claiming to be a biblical author, but on the topic of repentance (which we’ve identified as the first step of reclaiming the Kingdom of God for our lives and world) I wrote a brief parable that I hope brings this sometimes-lofty idea down to Earth. It’s a remix of Chicken Little so perhaps it will resonate.

There once was a man that believed that because of the state of the world the sky will inevitably fall and be the destruction of everything. The man spent all his days standing by his window, with his eyes pointed to the skies and finger pointed to everyone else’s problems proclaiming, “because of the wretchedness of the world and the wrath of God, we are all doomed.” While the man did this routine morning and night, he neglected that in his panic he forgot about the running/clogged sink in his basement. As he warned of the chaos that he was sure would come because God’s anger or man’s aggressions, he had been hardened to the reality of his own residence. His neighbors tried to mention to him that it appeared that something was going on in his house, but their voices were drowned out by cries of impending judgement. Eventually the house continued to fill with water, and everyone knows that when water is where water doesn’t belong, it brings chaos. Before the water eventually rose over the man’s head, and caused his house to burst into ruin, the man said “see, I was right along, I knew that God’s judgement was going to get us all, woe is me.”

Often the waters are used as an illustration in scripture to describe chaos or destruction. We see that with the creation story, flood story, and Jesus with his disciples. Water represents chaos and disorder, but God always represents peace and order. Then there are stories where it appears on the surface that God is the one who brings the chaos and disorder. One of those stories that often leads to a misrepresentation of God is the story of Job. This story is much too long to read let alone unpack in a devotional, but to summarize, Job is a faithful man, but also a prideful and self-absorbed man. He struggles with seeing God as the one to blame or the one who is giving this punishment. We usually catch the first part (Job’s faithfulness) but don’t as often talk about the other part (Job’s pride and ignorance.) Here comes the call to repentance from Job’s friend Elihu. There are six chapters worth of Job that are dedicated to Elihu, but for this time I would encourage a read through of Job 34 to hear his rebuke of Job. I will share verse 1-15 here if you don’t end up reading the whole chapter.

“Hear my words, you wise men, and give ear to me, you who know, for the ear tests words as the palate tastes food. Let us choose what is right; let us determine among ourselves what is good. For Job has said, ‘I am innocent, and God has taken away my right; in spite of being right I am counted a liar; my wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.’ Who is there like Job, who drinks up scoffing like water, who goes in company with evildoers and walks with the wicked? For he has said, ‘It profits one nothing to take delight in God.’ “Therefore, hear me, you who have sense; far be it from God that he should do wickedness and from the Almighty that he should do wrong. For according to their deeds, he will repay them, and according to their ways he will make it befall them. Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice. Who gave him charge over the earth, and who laid on him the whole world? If he should take back his spirit to himself and gather to himself his breath, all flesh would perish together, and all mortals return to dust.”

When the tomb was empty and Jesus was seated on the throne, the waters (chaos) were once again made powerless. Just as land and fruit and life was formed in creation once God gained control of the waters (chaos) this reality is what is promised for us. The issue is that just like the story of the cross, death is still being passed through to get to this life. That means there will still be the presence of chaos and destruction, but it is NOT the judgement of a loving God, it is a consequence of the death that is still present.

This is a big idea, but to close it simply, repentance is not accepting the wrath of God or projecting that wrath on someone else. Repentance is seeing everything (even when looking inward) through the lens of Jesus Christ, and surrendering whatever it is that adds to the chaos (or holding to account those who add to it), and doing all that we can to fight against that chaos.

And I can assure you this, when Jesus gives us instructions for how to live against the currents of chaos, He doesn’t ask us to point fingers, He asks us to roll up our sleeves and turn off the sink.