Gospel Motivation for Intentional Living

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Titus 2:3-5

“One of the main reasons to manage our home is for the sake of hospitality.  We should also consider managing our home for the sake of hospitality to our family.  Cleaning and organizing is a part of the practical outworking of Titus 2:3-5.  Keeping an orderly home communicates our love in a tangible manner.  Our family benefits from our management on a daily basis, just as guests enjoy our efforts when they visit.” –Practicing Hospitality

At our care group we recently got into a discussion about the purpose of keeping a tidy home.  One of the husbands said, “It’s the making the bed that gets me–why do it?! It’s just going to get unmade again!”

I know this man’s feelings well, since I have thought them so many times myself! It seems like that’s true of everything we do in home management.  Why fold the clothes and put them away? We are just going to get them out again? Why pick up the toys, they will just get played with again.  If we want to be efficient, wouldn’t we just leave this stuff and save time of picking up and putting away only to have to do it again thirty minutes later? Here are a few reasons why it is beneficial to maintain order in your home:

1.  It actually saves time in the end.  How much time have you spent looking for that bill that needs to be paid? Or your keys? Or your shoes? Or that one tupperware? I have always found that disorder leads to wasted time in searching and much, much frustration!

2.  Living in a chaotic home creates a frenzied heart.  When we live from one moment to the next, our hearts are not able to rest or relax because we are never sure what is expected of us.  Creating order allows for us to know what’s on our plate and establish a plan to execute it.

3.  It allows you to show hospitality.  When we have stock of our pantry, when we have a menu plan, and when our home is generally in order, this gives us the freedom to invite people in at the spur-of-the-moment.  This does not mean our homes have to be perfectly clean all the time. This is an ideal of which we need to let go if we are going to truly minister effectively for the kingdom.  The goal is not perfection so that guests will be impressed with how we have it all together, the goal is to create an inviting, peaceful environment where guests feel welcomed and relaxed.

4.  It creates at atmosphere of rest and welcome for your family.  When we ask the question, “Why would we make the bed when we are just going to mess it up again tonight?” It is a legitimate question.  But the better question to ask is, when I walked into a room with clothes on the floor and a messy bed, how does it make my spirit feel? “Considerable rumpled,” as Anne Shirley would say!  I have noticed that, without fail, when I bite the bullet and make the bed, put all the clothes away, wipe down the bathroom sink, etc.  As soon as I walk into that room, I literally breathe a sigh of relief at the sight of beauty and order that surrounds me.  This lifts my spirit, and gives strength to do other tasks, and I Have noticed the same for my husband!  So I am motivated not by the goal for impressing or achieving perfection, but with the goal to bless and refresh our spirits and the spirits of those who walk through our doors. It really does make a difference, even if you don’t recognize it on a cognitive level!

It is important to remember also that our ultimate priority is never maintaining our home.  When we have little ones, it is especially important that caring for and nurturing them is our priority.  The maintaining of an orderly home should not replace this, it should merely facilitate it.  This is something I struggle with, as I am a very task-oriented personality that likes to get things done and check it off the list. Nurturing Jeshuah isn’t something I can check off a list and can fall by the wayside of my housework if I don’t watch out for it.

5.  It is an outworking of the gospel.  “The testimony of a wife and mom who loves and serves her family is a powerful witness to a watching world; it is also something that separates a believing woman from the world.  The manner in which we serve and love our family should reflect the transforming power of the gospel in our own life.” (Practicing Hospitality again!).  Many times I catch myself being motivated to keep an orderly home to impress others.  I feel like I fail in so many ways that I somehow want to justify myself in their eyes by keeping a clean house.  This is a false and destructive mentality.  The gospel tells us that we are justified through Christ’s blood.  Trying to do it in our own strength and through actions negates the power of the cross in our lives.

We do not have to impress others with our abilities.  We need to be humble and transparent and allow others to see our faults and failures.  While we want our homes to be a welcoming atmosphere, we do not want to be putting on a show. We want people to know that it is by God’s grace and for his glory that we seek to maintain our homes, and that we fail as much as the next person. But that should give hope, not despair.  I find that so much discouragement comes from the appearance of perfection.  When I see someone with an orderly home and a seemingly-perfect life, my heart sinks with despair. I am aware of my weakness and instantly feel that I could never attain a household like theirs, because I am not perfect.  News flash: none of us are! I hope that when people come into my home, they feel welcomed and refreshed, but that they also see that I do not do it without fault.  I strive for these things, but I fail.  But because I strive for them and place priority on them, I will succeed more than I would if I wasn’t trying at all!

May the gospel refresh you as you seek to minister through your home today!

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Michelle Farrell on May 5, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Great blog today! I have found that when everything has its place, keeping an organized home is so easy. If you have a place for the bills, the keys, the magazines, the toys, the photos, the books, etc. then when you get something new that falls into one of these categories, you can simply put it where it belongs and it doesn’t pile up anywhere. Once everything in your home is in its place, then maintaining organization becomes very easy when new things enter your home or events occur. I do love keeping a tidy home so that we can have friends over at any time. It’s fun to be able to do that.

    Reply

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