Making A House A Home

 

 

 

 

SIT, LISTEN, PONDER, SERVE

How would you describe a woman who is an effective servant in our Lord’s kingdom?  Well organized, hard worker, and flexible might be words you would select.  Words like sit, listen, ponder, and then serve probably would not be on your list.  Why?  Because they do not appear to produce an immediate outcome.  Yet management experts tell us that if our time is limited to complete a project we will make more progress if we plan first and then take action.

Meet the Women of the Easter Account

            Contemplating the activities of the women who spent time with their Lord during the last days of His earthly ministry offers helpful suggestions to the 21st century woman who wants her life to have a far-reaching spiritual impact.  The Gospels present a tender portrait of the faithful women who were with Jesus throughout His crucifixion (Matt. 27:55-56; Mark 15:40-41; 23:49; Luke 23:26).  Their sympathetic devotion was in direct contrast to the clearly absent presence of Jesus’ disciples.

            Before we look at their activities let’s briefly meditate on why the women remained faithful to Jesus.  His conduct toward women during His earthly ministry reveals how much He valued them.  Prior to His advent women were second-class citizens.  His manner of treating them was revolutionary.  Rather than possessing a condescending attitude toward women He ignored the cultural prejudices of the day and allowed them to learn from and serve with Him.  Just as Jesus offered liberation to the women of His generation so He offers true liberation to the 21st century women who embrace and follow His teachings.

Mary was one of the women who remained faithful to Jesus.  Her friendship with Him and her choice to sit at His feet, absorb His teachings, and ponder His words, allowed her to develop a spiritual insight and understanding of things which others did not see.  Mark 14:6-9 teaches us that Mary was the only one who realized Jesus’ time on earth was drawing to an end.  Rather than being concerned about offering her Lord a gourmet meal whose benefit would be short-lived Mary chose to worship Him.  Her example of knowing her Savior well enough to understand that He wanted her heart more than her skills at that point in His ministry is important to us as Christian women (Matt. 22:37). 

The faithful women who remained with our Lord at the lowest point of the cross went to the tomb after the Sabbath to serve Him one final time.   Their desire to minister to Him yielded an unsurpassing honor—they were the original eyewitnesses to the Resurrection (Matt. 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18)!

Pondering the lives of the women who ministered to Jesus offers us guidelines for ours.  If we are willing to sit, listen, and ponder we are then able to . . .

  • Accept God’s special assignments (Luke 1: 26-38; Luke 21:51-52).
  • Support Jesus’ ministry with our resources and energies (Luke 8:1-3).
  • Share our testimony and the good news of the Resurrection with others (John 4:28-30, 19:25, 20:1-18; Matthew 27:55).

As you approach this holy season will you seek your heavenly Father’s wisdom for how best to sit, listen, ponder and then serve at this season of your life?  Ask Him to help you acquire the character qualities of the women who served Him until the end so that He will say of you that you chose “that good part, which will not be taken away from you” (Luke 11:42).

The Next Step—Service in Our Homes

The words clean and neat have different definitions for each family.  The most important point is for everyone in the family to feel that it is a place where they are protected, can stay healthy and are comfortable in extending hospitality to others.  A home care plan is necessary for home to be a nurturing place for family members.

Creating a Smart Home Care Plan

Smart home care means planning how best to use your family’s energy, time, money, and skill.  It means choosing cleaning techniques that get the tasks done as completely as possible.  It also means that everyone in the family helps so that no one person has too much to do and so everyone has a vested interest in keeping the home maintained once it is cleaned.  The motto “many hands make light work” is true in the upkeep of a home.

  • How much home care needs to be done depends on:
  • The size of the family.
  • The ages of family members.
  • Indoor hobbies and activities.
  • Hospitality styles.
  • The size and age of the home.
  • The types of furnishings.
  • The presence of pets.
  • Geographically where the home is located.
  • The weather and season.

A smart home care includes these steps:

  • Analyze your needs and set cleaning goals.  Take the time to look over each room and identify clutter, cobwebs, dirt, or dust.  In hard-to-see areas do the touch test by running a clean finger over furnishings and surfaces to find dirt that may not be easily seen.  Ask yourself, “What jobs need to be done?” and then list them.
  • Set priorities.  Rank the home care tasks from most to least important. 
  • Number the cleaning tasks in the order in which they need to be done.
  • Develop a smart home care plan for each room and each task.  A part of preparing the plan is to answer some important questions:
    • How often does the room or specific task need to be done?
    • When will it be done?
    • Who will do it?
    • How much time will it take?
    • What supplies, tools, or other materials are needed to do it?
  • Make a schedule.  Assign the cleaning tasks to certain days of the week.  With a schedule, the family can plan the work load to use everyone’s abilities, personal schedules, and time.  A schedule lets family members know when their tasks need to be completed.  It divides the cleaning tasks according to age, ability level, and time schedules. 
  • Allow for flexibility.  A flexible schedule allows for job trading and changing the days on which certain jobs are done to meet family members’ special needs.  Remember to custom-design your schedule to meet your family’s needs.  Another family’s schedule might serve as a model for yours, but it is unlikely that it would be exactly the same.
  • Consider rotating the tasks periodically.  This allows everyone to experience all of the cleaning tasks so all have an appreciation of what it takes to do the task.
  • Use the room-by-room method of cleaning whenever possible.  This method is usually more effective than completing random tasks.
  • Include larger seasonal cleaning tasks in the schedule.  Washing the windows, cleaning the garage, stripping and waxing the floors, and cleaning under the refrigerator are not done weekly but need to be included in the schedule to insure the entire home is well-maintained.
  • Evaluate your Home Care Schedule to make sure you are working smart. It is important that the plan simplifies your cleaning tasks.  Some evaluation questions might include:
    • Does the schedule include daily tasks such as picking up clutter, making the beds, and hanging up clothes or putting them in the hamper?
    • Does the schedule encourage a room-by-room cleaning so that each room gets the special care it needs?
    • Do I save energy by having cleaning tools and supplies collected before I begin cleaning?
    • Do I alternate difficult tasks and easy tasks?
    • Do I take a brief rest after a difficult cleaning task or in the middle of a long work period?
    • During the brief rest do I increase my energy with a healthy snack?  A cold glass of juice can help the mind and muscles feel refreshed.
    • Do I refresh my mind with soothing music or listening to Scripture?
    • Does the schedule include rotating cleaning tasks so that they do not become boring?
    • Does the schedule contain larger seasonal cleaning tasks?
    • Am I constantly looking for ways to work smarter rather than harder?

The Result

Combining the activities of the women who spent time with their Lord during the last days of His earthly ministry and the components of A Smart Home Care Plan sets the foundation for your home to be “a prepared place” for those living in the home and a welcoming environment for “friends and strangers!” (John 14:1-3; Hebrews 13:2).

THE EVERYDAY HOMEMAKER’S MONTHLY MEDITATION THOUGHT

God has said, “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”(Philippians 4:6-7).

Therefore, I may boldly say, “Since peace and worry cannot coexist at the first sign of worry I will thank God for who He is, for what He has done, and for the peace only He can provide.”

A GIFT FOR YOU!

If you would like a sample chapter of The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook simply click on “Contact Pat” and request your copy.

Blessings on your day as you focus on making your house a home!