...a distant second to be exact!
TV commercials may have been helpful to the religious elite back in Jesus day. Maybe they could've seen an example of how washing the outside of a dish only leaves the residue of the original contents on the inside. I can picture the ad now.....
"Divine Dish Detegent"
Cleanliness truly is next to Godliness
The Scriptures talk, very specifically, about dirty dishes and dirty hands.
"and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.". -Mark 6:4
Certainly nothing wrong with cleanliness, but there are 2 things one must be cautious of in striving to obtain it.
1. Cleanliness is next to Godliness - ...It had better be, lest we end up like the Pharisees. Cleanliness should ONLY be next to Godliness! Had their priorities been straight, much more; their own hearts been right with God, this act of cleansing would surely be an act of worship to the Lord. But their un-circumcised "hearts" had left them filthy.
While in Kenya in 2009, a few of our team (..all pastors..) were working with, and had just been worshipping with, many Kenyan pastors at a conference in Mwingi. The dusty surroundings , and really a pre-departure call for hand cleansing agents, called for, on this dusty, hot, evening, a well-deserved round of Purell shots in the van as our own countrymen left the conference. Like we Westerners so often do ...they held out hands with eager anticipation of removing the grime, the filth of these third-world surroundings. Only one problem; the few Kenyan pastors who had hitched a ride back to their stay-houses were in that van as well. We'll never forget our missionary friend's remark / question once the countrymen were dropped off at their respective residences.... "Did you just tell those men they were dirty?"
Oh the careless automation of our Western-ism!!! With no intent whatsoever, those Kenyans just heard, and saw, us communicate just how dirty and unacceptable their dusty little country is! When we speak without words....it is difficult to take those word-less statements back.
Our own rituals, habits, and traditions surely raised, at least, eye-brows as to our genuine-ness.
2. Cleanliness is next to Unattainable - Really! Romans 3:10 clearly indicates... as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; . In all honesty... there is no true cleanliness within us. Our righteousness is as filthy rags.
In our efforts to be "right with God", let's be sure that we first realize that ...."God is right."