It's nice to have a clean car so I went through the car wash the other day. My car was layered with brown mud all around from a few too many trips down a muddy gravel road in recent weeks. It looked terrible and it probably wasn't very safe as the mud covered the taillights. Now it is shiny and clean and I can see out of the windows without looking around the bug spots. I know it won't stay clean for very long but I'll enjoy it while it lasts.
The inside of our car stays fairly neat and clutter free but it gets a layer of dust and the floor mats gather mud and rocks or sand. I do a pretty good job of keeping the inside cleaned up so we can pick up our guests without embarrassment. I've found it is easier to take off each layer one at a time, rather than a heavy accumulation, whether it is litter or mud.
Although the following scripture sounds like it's talking about washing dishes, the meaning goes much deeper. Maybe you can apply it to washing cars, too, but Jesus is really talking about the heart.
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean" (Matthew 23:25-26 NIV).
Jesus was angry when he said these words to the Pharisees. His time on earth was getting short and he wanted the teachers of the law to see the wrong they were living. His message speaks to us, too. We can become complacent and lazy and forget the ways we are supposed to live. We drive around in dirty cars and honk at someone when instead we should clean up our act and live the life of a true Christian.
Maybe the sight of a car wash can serve as a reminder to clean up our insides first.