“Hey Brett,”  I said when I saw him ironing clothes in the bedroom.  I had a captive audience and took advantage of that fact.  “I have a new idea for a blog,”  I told him.  He graciously asked me to tell him my new idea.  I sorted through my thoughts and pulled them together as best I could verbally.  I proceeded to ramble on about a sieve, sand, and sin.  When I finished I looked expectantly at Brett and waited for him to confirm what a great idea I’d had, instead he looked confused.  Immediately I went into internal panic mode, ‘maybe it wasn’t such a great idea after all, where did I fail to make the connection, maybe……’  Brett interrupted my thoughts, “Well,”  he said, “it might make more sense if I knew what a sieve was.”  Whew, my internal panic subsided and I explained how the sieve in my analogy was the round piece of plastic that fit on the top of Aspen’s sand bucket that had holes in it and you could sift the sand through it, sort of like a colander.  The confused look left Brett’s face.  He knew about colanders from draining pasta in the kitchen sink.

Last spring Brett, Aspen and I spent a month at grandma’s house in Charleston, SC.  We took every opportunity we could to visit the beach even on the cold, windy days.  I loved reclining on my beach chair and squishing my toes in the sand, while Brett and Aspen built sand castles and moulded shapes with the large sand moulds that came with Aspens beach bucket.  I never really understood the need for the sieve that acted as a lid to the bucket because there never seemed to be anything to sift out of the sand.  I got to thinking about it though and a sieve is designed to sift out unwanted matter.  By definition: “A utensil consisting of a wire or plastic mesh held in a frame, used for straining solids from liquids, for separating coarser from finer particles.”

Every time we go to the beach Aspen finds a broken shell, or a rock she thinks is pretty and wants me to put it in our beach bag so she can take it home.  Now, that rock or broken shell is entirely useless, but she thinks it’s pretty and wants to keep it.  Aspen’s mental sieve of what she needs has much bigger holes in it than the mental sieve I have of what little trinkets and treasures I think she needs.

We all are in need of a sieve to sift our actions through.  The Holy Spirit acts as a sieve in our lives sifting out the good actions from the bad.  But sometimes, just like Aspen, we want to hold onto the useless rocks and broken shells the Holy Spirit is trying to sift out of our lives.  We want to keep them.  They are special to us.  The Holy Spirit recognizes them as useless and tries to sift them out of our lives.  At that point in time we can either let the Holy Spirit get rid of it, or we decide to throw away the sieve and keep the rocks.

Only humility, our belief that God knows best and we don’t, will allow us to hold onto the sieve so that we end up with nothing but the good soft squishy sand in our lives.  The kind we want to walk on with bare feet, not the kind with rocks that will hurt our feet when we walk on them.

If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  2Chronicles 7:14