Ordinary Life

Swishing toilets, stacking towels, folding sheets, sweeping crumbs, vacuuming sand, putting the cushions on the couch again, clipping 20 tiny nails (x5), lining them up for haircuts. Cleaning, cooking, and laundry … repeat, repeat, repeat.

Ordinary Life

Mother-in Law Wisdom

I remember once asking my mother-in-law if there was any eternal value in cleaning the toilet … again. It will definitely be dirty by tomorrow. She wavered and then postulated that there would likely be some eternal loss for not doing it.

Menial and Meaningful

Stewardship demands that I care for what I have been given with an eye to giving it away. How much of life is made up of repetitive, menial tasks? And how do I think of them as meaningful and fulfilling and eternally significant?

  • Is attention to the details of the everyday idolatry or is it service?
  • Do I do it for my glory or the Lord’s?
  • Is it with an eye to give, or to get?

If I fail to care for the menial, function is lost, and service is difficult. If I look at the menial as an end in itself, I go crazy with the repetitive, seemingly meaningless effort I put into something that is undone almost immediately

Is there something that can give me perspective and imbue these things with eternal significance?

It’s the repetitive things we attend to that shape us and undergird the most important things in life that we hold most dear.

  • A meal communicates care and fellowship and fuels the bodies and souls of those that we love.
  • Cleanliness reminds us of heaven.
  • Order and arrangement were a most significant part of setting up the tabernacle.

We modernists would like to hire out all these menial tasks so we have more time. More time for more what?

People matter

Investing in people is what matters eternally. We must realize that all this effort is with a view to serving people. Do you want to be great in God’s kingdom? Learn to be a servant of all. A clean house must be lived in. The food is to be consumed. The floor is meant to catch the crumbs.

Attitude matters

I can grumble and complain while I keep doing what needs to be done. I can look at it as an obligation and resentfully fulfil it. Or I can transform it into an opportunity and joyfully see it as a means of service, a God-given outlet that I am capable of on a day-to-day basis. Whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord. Whatever – the menial and the daily count.

The Lord washed feet. How long would they remain clean? The Lord fed the multitudes. How long until they were hungry again? The Lord saw the needs of the shepherdless sheep around Him and had compassion on them. The disciples sometimes said ‘tell them to go away’ but He always said ‘come’.

So, I fold the clothes, and thank the Lord for an able body and all the little bodies that fill them.

And I make the bed and think of the blessings I receive from those who come to stay with us.

I wipe the table and sweep the floor, thankful for another meal that nourished body and soul.

And I stack the Bibles on the side table and meditate on the unfathomable blessing of knowing from this Book that all these little things matter to God; that they are part of a humble imitation of the greatest servant.