Life’s Dirty Napkins


It was an elegant table setting. Crystal stemware wiped free of fingerprints, cloth napkins folded with military precision and silver utensils buffed to perfection. The floral arrangement presided over the table like Donald Trump at a board meeting.

Invited guests were escorted to their assigned seats where attentive servers stood ready to fill water glasses, open dinner napkins and fulfill drink orders. A photographer snapped photos of the upscale dinner party for a feature article in an upcoming magazine spread. The guest list read like a who’s who of ‘newsworthy notables’ along with a handful of ‘unknowns’ like my husband and me.

It was a gala party, but as the evening drew to a close the once majestic table setting had lost its luster. Guest were ushered into the great room while servers removed dirty dishes; lipstick imprinted stemware and food stained napkins from the table. I watched from the sidelines as the servers cleared the table. Within a short time china was washed and stacked, silverware polished to perfection and stemware sparkled; but, it was the pile of crumbled dinner napkins that caught my attention.

Have you ever felt like a dirty, crumpled napkin? I have.

I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen myself as one of those dirty napkins stained with the ugliness of life. Everyone around me appears clean, sparkly and polished to perfection. No matter how hard I work to hide the stains, eventually, there are no more clean spaces left. In defeat, I crumple the napkin into a ball and toss it into the laundry basket marked ‘hopelessly stained’.

But each time, Jesus retrieves my crumbled dinner napkin.  He pulls it from ‘life’s dirty laundry basket’ and shouts, “Wash this in my Blood; it will be white as snow.”

Have the dirty stains of your life been washed in the Blood of the Lamb?

As I left the party that night, I took a side trip into the kitchen to give a word of thanks to the servers. Again, the heap of crumbled napkins caught my attention and curiosity got the best of me; I asked:

“What will you do with all those stained napkins? It appears the stains will never come out in the wash and I’m sure someone paid a hefty price for them.”

The reply,

“We use a ‘powerful’ detergent. It makes everything look new and repurposes what most would consider a lost cause.”

No one is a lost cause in the eyes of Jesus.

When sin leaves a crimson stain on our life, Jesus stands ready to clean us with the power of his blood. He washes and presses the wrinkles of our life so that our crumbled and wadded linens are worthy to be displayed next to the fine china, crystal and silver at the table of the King of Kings. He paid a hefty price for us.


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