I know that talking about bodily waste is generally not an appropriate discussion topic, but when your wife is 6 months pregnant and you are deciding what type of diapers to get, it suddenly becomes a very significant conversation piece. You see, all along my wife has been telling me about how great cloth diapers are and how we will be responsible, earth-loving parents who do not single-handedly fill up a landfill with our son’s dirty diapers. My initial response was that I was very excited about our son growing up in world of smog-covered landfills and radioactive sludge, so bring on the disposable diapers. Umm… OK, that was not actually what I said.
After I agreed that cloth diapers sounded like a good idea we began to look at the array of ‘‘cute” cloth diapers available online for our baby registry. This was when I learned the full tale of cloth diapers.
There are a lot of reasons I am excited about being a dad. Poopy diapers is not one of them. So as Ali carefully explained to me how the cloth diapers work, I began to envision my future scraping poop out of cloth diapers while being peed on by baby Samuel as he smirks at me and claps his little hands in delight. Oh yes, he’s just so cute isn’t he!
My musings on future poopy diapers brought me to an interesting phrase in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. He claims that all of his attempts to live a perfect life according to the law are like poop to God. His striving to achieve God’s favor based on his own strength and efforts was in fact a humiliating and hopeless endeavor.
In the olden days when there were mighty kings who ruled the land, people would often bring extravagant presents to the king to try and win his favor. So imagine the following scene with me. You are in the glorious hall of the most powerful king in the known world. He has no equal. Suddenly the iron doors to the room swing open and the herald announces the presence of a foreign dignitary who has come from afar with a lavish gift. Everyone in the royal court watches with excitement as he makes his way with the utmost poise toward the throne. In his hands he carries a beautiful wooden box containing the unknown gift. He kneels gracefully before the king and kisses his hand. The people are pleased by his manners and whisper to one another that he is indeed a fine looking fellow.
With a flourish the dignitary rises and opens the box to reveal a disgusting pile of smelly poop. The people are flabbergasted. The King is outraged. The dignitary is kicked out in disgrace. He will receive no favor.
The sad reality is that you and I are so often like that dignitary. But Paul claims that in Jesus the story can have different a ending. Because of Jesus we can enter the King’s hall and join in the festivities not on account of the worthiness of our gift to the King but because of Jesus’ gift to the King on our behalf. Gone are the days of trying to curry favor! So will you accept Jesus’ gift on your behalf? Will you allow your life to be shaped by grace? Will you put down your poop and come join the King’s banquet?