Holy Hearts and Dirty Fingernails

At the conference last weekend, one of the speakers (sorry can't remember who) encouraged us to have "holy hearts and dirty fingernails." He was challenging us to remain holy in our hearts, but to be present in the world and not be afraid to get our hands dirty. Jesus modled this - he was perfect and holy - yet he wasn't afraid to bust out of his safe group of friends and seek the lost. He wasn't afraid to get his fingernails dirty. He hung out with the worst of sinners, and yet he somehow managed to keep his heart holy.

I'm challenged by this, because I don't do it well. I've got a network of people who I'm "comfortable" around - and I'm often too comfortable to want to branch out. If I'm gonna call myself a Jesus-follower, I better step it up.

It occured today that we often sing a song at Church that goes like this: "Give us clean hands, and give us pure hearts, let us not lift our souls to another." Should we really mean that? Do we want clean hands? Or do we want worn hands and pure hearts?

The song is biblical (psalm 24 especially, and many O.T. rewards for "clean hands") ... I'm not shooting down the song. I like the song. After reading a bit, I guess it's biblical to have clean hands - but I'm not sure I would have called Jesus' hands clean. Certainly sin-less, but he put those hands to work.

Any thoughts out there?


John Bussone said...

I know what you are getting at in regards to clean/dirty hands. The clean hands from the Psalmist's view point would be referring to the priets hands; not being defiled.

When I hear that song (knowing it comes from the Psalter); I have to make a switch in my mind from Old to New covenant thinking.

The Psalmist would ask for a pure heart and should ask for clean hands, but should we? Am I not already clean, and pure, and spotless like the Lamb of God? Oh sure, I have the flesh within me that wants to live for self, but is that what God sees; when He sees me?

I think God looks at me and sees His Son. Thus, I can always come just as I am: with a holy heart and dirty fingernails.

My thoughts

Anonymous said...

JB said it well.

For me it might mean cigarette smell in my clothes, alcohol spilled on me at the game, the smell of that unshowered homeless guy, or maybe just sweat from playing sports with people who don't believe like I do.

But, from a class called "Ministry is Relationships", I've learned that I have a far greater chance of touching someone with Jesus Christ' love - - if I actually touch them.


Abbie said...

I was thinking about this yesterday. I was wondering how we can be involved in the lives of unbelievers and not lose momentum for God or vigor for our own relationship with Him.

How are we supposed to be in this world but not of it? For about 5 minutes I considered devoting my life to the pursuit of an answer to that question. I would then write a book about it called "In not Of". Then I realized that I don't know how to write books, so I let it go.

Sorry, that was really random. Hope you had a good thanksgiving :-)

justice is next to godliness said...

it's pretty simple really. love people. seriously. it's that simple. jesus loved people and he got pretty freakin messy...got nard dumped on is whole body (that sounds sick), protected a prostitute, picked wheat to eat on the sabbath, destroyed a temple (figuratively and verbally), and then had his entire body mutilated and then hung by nails from some wood because of loving people. it's a mess. this is to be "in the world and not of it." book deal anyone?

Right now