Encouragement From The Word

Getting at the olive pit

About a week ago, our dishwasher started making a really nasty noise. Not being too familiar with the internal workings of this marriage-saving appliance, we weren’t too sure what to do. We began by running some vinegar through the system, but that didn’t help.

As you may know, the majority of the ‘guts’ of a dishwasher are suspended underneath the tub, mere millimetres from the kitchen floor. To see anything, you have to lie down on the floor in front of the dishwasher.

Like lifting the hood of your car, staring under the dishwasher doesn’t remedy the situation at all.

I called a repair shop and described the noise as sounding like a motorcycle running in my kitchen. The helpful chap on the other end of the phone politely suggested I clean out around the pump, and check for things like olive pits around the macerator.

I managed to clear some time last night to disconnect the electricity, water, and drain, and pull out the dishwasher. Of course, staring at it then rendered no positive results, either.

Thankfully, YouTube is a great resource for many things, including dismantling our brand of dishwasher. With just one video (played and stopped and played over again and again!), I had all the help I needed to know how to get the circulation pump dislodged from the tub of the dishwasher.

And what did I find around the macerator? Yes. An olive pit. (There were a few other offending bits, too, but the pit was probably the real culprit.) After giving the guts a thorough cleaning, I reassembled the dishwasher (with a couple of false starts), flipped the breaker back on, and ran a rinse cycle. Our quiet-running dishwasher was back.

To find the problem, I had to get to the heart of the dishwasher. Only after a serious dismantling process did I discover the offending pit.

Life is like that. We live our lives, managing our sin, trying to keep it quiet, in a sense. We might even make other noises so that the sound generated by the sin isn’t noticed. (At one point I suggested to my patient wife that she could just turn the television up louder. Probably not the best answer!) Do you see what I mean, though? We manage our sin; we don’t get rid of it.

In many ways, we’re afraid to get rid of it, because, like taking apart the dishwasher, there is a lot of work involved in dealing with sin at its root.

But it totally worth it.

It can be hard to do this alone. Sometimes, rooting out sin works best when we share that difficult journey with another person who loves us and wants God’s best for us. It begins, of course, with confession and repentance. And it must include seeking the Holy Spirit’s power and grace, because even though we may repent, without the Spirit at work in us, we are likely to go back to old ways.

Have you identified the proverbial ‘olive pit’ that you need to get out of the core of your life? Have you sought the help of God’s Spirit, and maybe a Christian friend, to excise the sin?

It may be hard work, but you will be glad you did it when your life isn’t so bothered by the noise of that sin impeding God’s work in you and through you.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139.23-24, NIV).