Too often in today’s world many homes become a pit stop in the race of life rather than a refuge to refresh from the storms of life, and before we know we are overwhelmed and the work of home becomes added stress! A home is a blessing and should be a refuge, a haven of rest, and a place we enjoy being. We long for a home filled with love and special memories. We even desire to share our home with others. But creating and maintaining this type of home takes work, and our busyness and over-committed lives often get in the way.
It becomes impossible to maintain a home if we are never there, and emotions can be fragile when we become exhausted from work, appointments, activities, and other responsibilities that seem to demand our time. When we finally get home we just want to ignore the messes around us, avoid conversation, fall into bed, and pray that tomorrow will be a better day!
But the housework does not go away unless you can afford to hire a full time housekeeper. It is a relentless cycle of meals to be prepared, dishes to wash, floors to clean, toilets to scrub, clothes to be washed, folded, and put away, beds to be made, dusting, windows, and on and on and on! Work at home can be routine, repetitive, and boring. It is sometimes dirty, smelly, and unpleasant. What is God’s plan for work in the home? Titus 2:4 says this, “These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes.” We were created with a God given instinct to provide and care for our families in a nurturing home environment. And in Philippians 2:14-16 we read:
Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you.
….. then, on the day of Christ’s return,
I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain
and that my work was not useless.
Oh, man! I believe everything has to include housework, and it sure can be hard to do housework without complaining or at least making a few resentful comments, especially when things have spiraled out of control! But read that last part again – there is a promise – if we work at everything, including housework, the way Christ commands we will find that our work was not useless in the end!
The work of the home may be the most important work we ever do! Studies show that our environment, including the home, affects who we are and what we become. Our homes have an effect on our spouses, children, grandchildren, friends, neighbors, and all who visit! We are creating and maintaining environments that help to form thoughts and patterns for life in both ourselves and others! Homes that honor God are foundational to spiritual growth and spreading God’s love in a world that so desperately needs to see Christian faith as the very core of everyday life. Because this is true, the work done at home should take on a new meaning.
Being intentional about making our homes a place that honors God, and will have a lasting, hopefully eternal, impact on family and friends, takes work! That work begins by renewing our hearts and focusing on spiritual things. Time in our schedules to read the Bible, meditate on what it says, pray, and listen as God guides us and speaks to our hearts each day is not an option, but a necessity!
We must then teach our children not only what the Bible says, but how to apply it to their lives. The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 to commit wholeheartedly to God’s commands, to repeat His commands again and again to our children, to talk about them at home and on the road, to talk about them when we are going to bed, and then again when getting up! We must make the things of God a priority if we want His love to be evident in our homes. The first work of home begins in a homemaker’s heart and then multiplies when shared with others in the home!
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old,
he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
We must also make our homes places of order. 1 Corinthians 14:40 says we should be sure that everything is done properly and in order. A clean home creates a sense of peace and well-being. An organized home is the key to an efficient home. A great goal is to have a place for everything and when it is time to clean up, just put everything in its place! Things will not always be put away in a home that is lived in, but it will be much easier to put things away when organization in place and much easier to find things as well!
Having too much ‘stuff’ can make housework overwhelming, and it is certainly easy to accumulate too much in a hurry! When this happens, we need to apply Ecclesiastes 3:6 which says that there is a time to keep and a time to throw away! When you find you have too much it might also be a time to sell or to give away. We must hold our possessions with open hands as everything we have is a gift from God, and when we have too much it is an opportunity to be a blessing to someone in need!
“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness,
for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Luke 12:15 (ESV)
Working to build a God honoring home is a work worth pursuing. We must be diligent to press on even when we are tired or frustrated remembering that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. I have had seasons of life when I felt like my work at home was pleasing to the Lord, and I have had seasons when I have felt like a total failure. In those times, I cry out to the Lord with a heart that wants to please him. He picks me up, gives me a new start, and guides me as I reorder my priorities and renew my purpose!
There are many books, blogs, and magazines filled with tips about cleaning, decluttering, and organizing the home. The internet is filled with wonderful ideas for decorating and offering hospitality. Time management gurus, which I am not, have wonderful ideas about setting goals and priorities. But it is my prayer, for you and for me, that we would make a new commitments today to the work of our homes because we see this opportunity as the most important job we may ever do. This work begins with a spiritual commitment, and requires a joyful heart that serves the Lord with gladness – even in housework!
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:30-31
May your homes be blessed and a blessing to others!