Whistle While You Work!

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First, clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Matthew 23:25-26  

During this quarantine, there is one thing my wife and I have been doing a lot of – CLEANING.  Our alley by the garbage cans is starting to look a little like the opening of “Sanford and Son”! 

Since the “stay at home” order, we have been tackling one room at a time.  The first room was the kitchen, specifically the kitchen faucet.  We have been having trouble with our kitchen faucet for quite a while now.  It would just shut off when we would use it.  There was no rhyme or reason to it.  Usually, you just had to turn the handle to the “OFF” position, count to 10, then turn it back on.  At least, that was what we did in the beginning.

As time went on, the interval began to increase.  By the second day of Stay Safe, Stay Home, the faucet was up to 3 minutes.  At our house, we have added a third line to the above phrase “Stay Sane!”  The faucet was undermining our attempts at following the third edict.

I must admit that I was willing to live with it but my wife went to her favorite website that has nothing to do with the longest river in South America but shares the same name.  She found one she liked, ordered it and it came 20 minutes later (actually next day).

After two days and 3 trips to Menard’s, it was installed and no water flowed except where it was meant to flow from.  The new faucets have many distinct features that are light years beyond the old one.  These include working consistently and a functional sprayer hose.

Now, we also have a portable dishwasher, so we purchased a new adapter that connects the faucet to the machine.  My son Joey was the first to test it out while we were away working at the food pantry.  We arrived home to a slightly wet floor and a nice clean ceiling.  The connector was an epic failure!

I tried tightening the piece but to no avail.  I ran the dishwasher with a towel around the connector a couple of times which at least directed the water back into the sink and not at the microwave.  Unfortunately, not enough water made it into the dishwasher, reducing the machine to simply a dish WETTER.

Since then we have turned the portable dishwasher into a portable BREAD stand and reverted back to doing dishes by hand.  We are taking turns with this chore, although I admit my wife has been taking more turns than me.  Which is weird because I realize that I like doing dishes that way.

Washing Dishes

Yesterday, I noticed there was a pile in the sink.  My wife was napping.  Actually, I was as well but woke up a half-hour before her.  My son, Jon, was coloring at the kitchen table and the other two were sequestered in their rooms, engaged in video games.  Not wanting to turn on the TV and disturb my wife, I decided to do up the dishes.

Now, when I do dishes, I need TUNES!  I activated my playlist from the Music service on that river website (Dad’s Jam) and place it on a shelf above the sink.

The plates got cleaned during Jon Cougar Mellencamp’s “Crumbling Down”.  The cups got theirs during Queen’s “Under Pressure” (I sang it right this time!) The silverware was done up during Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee” and the cookie sheets were tackled during “We built this city!” by Starship, formerly known as Jefferson Starship, formerly known as Jefferson Airplane and first simply known as Marty Balin’s Pizza Joint House Band.

While washing and warbling, rinsing and rocking, drying and dancing, I began to reflect on how much I loved my first jobs when I was in high school.  I was a dishwasher, first at a local pizza place, then Denny’s (3rd shift), and finally at a Mexican eatery during my first year of college.  I spent many a night, isolated off of the kitchen, listening to a radio, and scraping cheese from various pots and pans.  For several hours, the only human contact came when a busboy would deliver me a new tray of dirty dishes or a waitress would come back to scream at me that they were out of ramekins (little side dishes used for various sauces).  It brought a smile to my face, reflecting on those jobs.

I liked that work! Mostly because I was taking something extremely filthy and disgusting and working my craft in order to restore it back to near perfect condition.  In a restaurant, spotless is not the goal, it is the bar, the standard that must be adhered to on every surface that food touches. Although some might think that being a dishwasher is demeaning work, I would dare to argue that it is one of two crucial positions in a restaurant, the other being the cook.  I bet you all have that story of the place you will never visit again due to UNCLEAN plates, cups, or silverware.  I think it’s probably the reason many establishments now offer plastic and styrofoam due to the cost involved in paying a dishwasher.

The Bible uses the words CLEAN and UNCLEAN 358 times so you know that this has always been a focus of concern for the people of God.  In the Old Testament, especially in the Book of Leviticus, God commands strict protocols for killing, cleaning, and preparing food.  Some things were forbidden while others required exact observances of rituals before something could be consumed.  After centuries of science, it has been determined that the guidelines are actually still the best practices in order to stay healthy.

I like to think that the people in the old testament, like me, would sing and praise God while cleaning up after the daily meal. Many rituals involved music to be performed.  

Jesus introduced us to a new concept.  He dressed down the Pharisees when they challenged him:

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First, clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Matthew 23:25-26  

Jesus warns that the true “dirt” is not on the outside but rather, on the inside.  Jesus stresses to them (and us) that cleaning the outside is useless unless the inside is cleaned first.  More importantly, Jesus showed us how to “clean” our insides through baptism.  He then went on to teach us that if we were clean on the inside that would also give us protection from outside forces.  He told Peter in a dream (Acts 10:13-15):


Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

“Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”


Our baptism scrubs away the one thing we can’t get rid of on our own, our sin.  We can’t make it go away by deeds because Isaiah states “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins”

I also like to imagine that while He cleans me, Jesus is washing and warbling, rinsing and rocking, drying, and dancing during my baptism and every day since.


Prayer:  Lord Jesus!  Thank you for WASHING me up!  Thank you for RINSING my Sin from Me!  Thank you for DRYING me off so I can be used again to the glory of your kingdom!  In Jesus Name we pray.  Amen! 

As always, please feel free to COMMENT and SHARE.

2 thoughts on “Whistle While You Work!

  1. Why did you enjoy washing, rinsing and drying at work and not at home? Or did I manage to teach you that any job worth doing is worth doing well? This was drummed into my head by my father as long as I can remember. You must have learned it by osmosis. Or did I just maybe say it myself? Hummm


    1. Yes, a job well done is worth doing well. I enjoyed doing dishes at home but didn’t want to be stuck doing them every night!


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