Have you ever prayed while sweeping the floor? As I hear most folks, including myself, talk about the necessary tasks we must do to keep our homes clean, we speak negatively. These are the things that prevent us from doing the other things, stuff we must do before we can do what we want to do. And these tasks are never ending, so it feels almost futile to make the bed that’s just going to get slept in, sweep the floor that’s just going to get dirty, wash the dishes that just end up back in the sink.
Do you think it’s possible to reframe our necessary chores as tasks for the upkeep of God’s Kingdom? Do you think it’s possible to approach these tasks as forms of prayer or to see them as part of the regular rhythm of restoration and new beginnings of God’s Kingdom?
When our faith ancestors tell the story of creation, they said that God put people in the garden to tend the garden, keep it in order, and care for the animals that lived in it (See chapters 1 & 2 of the book of Genesis).
In the letter to the Romans, Paul says, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.”
As we look at the daily tasks of our life (I use household chores as my example because most everyone of us as some sort of living space to tend to regardless of the paid work we may do but the idea of all work being kingdom work applies to paid or volunteer work as well1) from a Kingdom viewpoint even the simplest of tasks becomes an act of giving thanks back to God for the life God breathes into us.
Each time that we clean and restore that which has become dirty or out of order, we are participating with God in the rhythms of the Kingdom. Every day is a new day. Every clean dish is ready for a new meal. Every load of laundry restores the purpose of our clothing.
Let God’s love color the way you approach everything you do. Give thanks for the tasks you do knowing God has entrusted you with Kingdom work. We are God’s beloved, created in God’s image, equally physical and spiritual.
1An excellent resource of the Theology of Work is the Theology of Work Project. Check it out!