Squeaky Clean, a wealthy but honest businessman, was dissatisfied with life. Although he was a practising Catholic as well as an active member of his parish, God seemed far away. Even worse, his inner spirit was withering. When he stumbled on a beautiful farm for sale, he just knew this was God’s answer to his dilemma. Surely a back-to-the-earth lifestyle would bring him closer to God.
Squeaky Clean worked hard
Squeaky Clean worked long hours renovating the farmhouse, building barns, silos and fences, clearing brush and planting gardens. After a few years, his farm was charming and well-kept, a stark contrast to Sloppy Joe’s messy place just down the road. Neighbours marvelled because not only was his farm picture perfect but his family as well; they never missed Mass, his children excelled in school and sports, his wife volunteered selflessly at church, while Squeaky Clean held positions on both the city and parish council. They were a model family, living on a model farm.
Although Squeaky Clean prayed for success as intensely as he worked, his crop yields decreased every year. Soon, even his animals looked scrawny. Even worse, he was still tense, feeling sick at heart and sick in his body. In fact, his whole family never really laughed or played and were always tired. Squeaky Clean was baffled. He was no closer to God than he had been in the noisy city. and his farm was failing. Did God not promise to bless those who were good, hardworking people, faithful to Him?
Proverbs 12:11 “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread.”
2 Chronicles 15:7 “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”
Next door, lazy Sloppy Joe reaped bumper crops. It was galling because relaxed Sloppy Joe’s animals also thrived. Squeaky Clean could not fathom what he was doing wrong. In desperation, he decided to swallow his pride and ask the uneducated and annoyingly happy Sloppy Joe for his secret.
Sloppy Joe’s Secret for Success and Happiness
Sloppy Joe’s generous, warm hospitality eventually relaxed Squeaky Clean. Soon his bottled up frustration, worry and concerns poured out in a torrent of verbal diarrhea. It was cathartic; Squeaky Clean felt burdens dissipate as he shared. When he finally fell into an easy silence, Sloppy Joe inquired, “So if your yields are so low, why do you need to keep building more silos for storage?”
Squeaky Clean was indignant and defensive, ”Where else can I put all the manure those animals keep producing?”
Sloppy Joe’s mouth literally dropped open. He threw his head back and roared with mirth. Every time he settled down, one look at Squeaky Clean’s confused face, set him off laughing again. Finally, he managed to sputter, “No wonder your place stinks and your crops are weak. Spread the manure on your fields and your plants will thrive and your place will smell sweet again.”
Squeaky Clean was appalled, ”But I don’t want to cover my beautiful fields with plops of smelly manure.”
Let God Deal With Your Manure
Sloopy Joe suddenly grew serious. ”Listen to me. Hide your manure, store it so no one will see it and your farm will continue to stink and slowly die. Shovel out your manure, bring it out into the Light, and God will transform it into fertilizer. Trust God and He will deal with your messes. If you really want to be close to God, you will have to give up trying to do everything on your own and allow God to do his job.”
When people bury their negative emotions and hide their wounds, they will grow ill in body, mind and spirit. When people let go of pride and humbly allow their sins to rise up into the Light, God transforms toxic inner burdens into fertilizer for their spiritual lives.
Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Squeaky Clean worked and prayed diligently, but his farm and his spiritual life were withering. He became ill when he tried to deal with his ‘manure’ in secret instead of revealing his sin and trusting in God to transform him.