Recently our dishwasher decided to stop draining water properly. As a result, I needed to start hand-washing all our dishes. I do not love dishes. When I realized this, I may have given a little huff and reluctantly agreed to hand wash the dishes until the dishwasher was fixed.
Within minutes of this interaction, my husband took the initiative to teach our daughters to hand-wash and dry the dishes. My girls are currently 3 and 5. They have helped me load and unload the dishwasher, but it has never really been assigned as a chore.
My husband pulled our five-year-old up to the sink. He started explaining that God gave us these wonderful blessings- food, dishes, water- and it was our job to take care of these blessings. Our five-year old hung onto every word and watched carefully. Meanwhile our 3-year-old was listening closely, though she was not part of the conversation.
My husband then told my daughters that from now on it was their chore, their responsibility, to take care of the dishes after every meal.
You would have thought my daughter had been given a pony. She was so excited to have a chore… so excited to wash and dry the dishes. As soon as she is finished with her meal, she happily gets everything ready to wash the dishes.
Me… I have NEVER been excited to wash dishes. NEVER! I mean growing up it was a chore… chores for me pretty much meant- something I HAD to do because NO ONE ELSE would.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. My grandparents lived on a farm. They’re farmhouse did not have a dishwasher… wait let me take that back… the dishwasher at the farmhouse was all the ladies in the house. It was like a right of passage. After you were 10, you got to help do dishes. But it wasn’t bad at all. Literally every girl and lady at the farm gathered in the kitchen to wash, dry, and put away dishes. It was just expected. And we did it with no fuss or kick-back. Grandma took care of us by cooking, we would take care of her by cleaning up afterwards.
Other than dishes at the farm, I have always had a distaste for dishes. I always thought of dishes, cooking, laundry, and the list of chores as something I had to do… Then as I grew to know God, I realized it was my opportunity to serve others. Little did I know that by listening to my husband teach my daughter how to do dishes, I too would learn an important lesson. It’s much more than just dishes.
Doing the dishes was an opportunity to honor God. God gave us these blessings, it is our job to take care of these blessings. Stewardship. Doing chores is stewardship. How did I never see this before?
I guess I thought of stewardship in relation to tithing. God gave us a job, so we give back our first fruits. God gave us our Church family, so we take care of the church with our time, talent, and treasures.
But I am clearly seeing the tithing is only part of stewardship. God has blessed me with so much! Anytime I take care of these blessings, I am serving God. Anytime I clean my house, do the dishes, clean the laundry, wash my van, pay my bills on time- I am being a good steward.
So while this has all the sudden hit me, I had to do a quick Google to make sure I am correct. The definition of stewardship is: “the job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property.” Sounds pretty spot on to me. Anytime we take care of our blessings- material things, kids, money, etc.… we are acting as good stewards.
God created Adam and gave him the task of stewardship. (Gen 2:15) “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” He also created Eve as Adam’s helper (Gen 2:18). It is in our bones to do work. Though we all know how the story of Adam and Eve ends… they fall… they give into temptation… work becomes cursed, toilsome… The very things we were created to do have now become burdensome… and we do not want to do them.
But by doing these chores, by doing our work, we are honoring God. Everything we have is a blessing from God. Taking care of those blessings shows our appreciation and love to the Creator!
Though I know I probably should have been the one teaching my daughter to do dishes, I am so grateful that I was the one listening and learning a simple lesson on stewardship. God works in amazing ways.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.