Doing the dishes

On January 1st (or so), 2015, I wrote a sentence on a paper covered with other sentences about how I wanted the year to look:

Do things for the joy.

I wasn't quite sure what it would mean in action, but I knew it was too easy for me to be bothered by small tasks and necessary to-dos.

The sentence is shorter than what it means because truly what I was attempting to learn was to do things for the joy of the Lord.

One summer I worked for a non-profit in a position that had me doing dishes after a lot of meals. From four to twelve people at each meal, the dishes were always ready to be given some love. To the left of the sink, taped to the cupboard was written:

"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." Colossians 3:23-24

As I would frown at the pile of seemingly always existent dishes I would glance higher and shift my heart to worship.

Because if it was for the joy of the people? Well, they were often thankless and likely were not going to come tell me how lovely I was for cleaning up their mess.

But to the Lord? He loves getting glory, and He never holds joy tightly. He hands it out.

So as my hands would get tougher by water, I would be worshipping. I would thank the Lord for my job, for each person, for food, for the home, for the glorious ministry of feeding His sheep.

Earlier in Colossians (3:17) it says "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

I didn't like dishes at the beginning of that summer job and even now four or so years later I still would rather dirty dishes than clean then, but something happened slowly over the summer and in the years since as I've meditated on doing all things unto the Lord.

Tasks ease themselves. I don't mean that they become easy. But they do somehow simplify and feel less horrible to do. A pile of dishes is a pile of dishes but as worship, it's time to slow and praise the Lord for the reason the dishes got dirty.

This past winter I hosted a bible study  and each Monday evening I would place all of the mugs in the sink and get to cleaning them. And my heart would feel completely at peace because holy work had happened in the women and cleaning their mess was for the joy.

It was for His joy.

What's bugging you today? You have a task in front of you that makes you want to get grumpy at? Friend. What if you took your pile of busy schedule and unhappy appointments and asked the Lord to get glory? What if you said "holy holy holy" as you clean up the mess of another? What if you whispered "He is worthy of all praise" as you fold your roommates laundry for her? What if you set the next task you so as worship to the Lord God? That extra assignment you just got handed? Do it for the joy of the Lord!

Let's all of us set our tasks on the Lord and find joy in Him.