Housework and chores may seem laborious and boring, but that’s not how God wants it to be. Call your kids into the room and join AMBrewster as he discusses God’s view of chores and how Christian parents and kids can learn to love working around the house!
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Do your children do chores in the home? Do you do chores in the home? Well, you all need to do chores in the home, and today we discuss the biblical foundation for family work.
This foundation is designed to help you, the parent, understand the importance from a biblical perspective, but also for you to pass on to your kids.
I’ve never believed it was Christ-honoring to always be telling our kids what to do without teaching them why God wants them doing it. Sure, there may be the occasional time that’s appropriate, but — as Ambassador Parents for God — we must communicate His Truth and explain His high biblical expectations.
Many of our episodes are designed to have your family listen along with you, and this is one of them. If you’re looking for a Bible Time with your family, you could print out the Episode Notes, listen to this episode together, read the verses we discuss, and then have your own time of sorting out the Scriptures and applying them to your own unique family situation.
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Okay, now let’s talk about family chores.
And if the whole family is there with you, I want to start by welcoming you.
My name is Mr. Brewster, and your parents and I get together twice a week to learn what God has to say about our parenting. God cares very much about how we live our lives because He created all of us for a very specific purpose. It’s our goal to discover that purpose in the Bible and then live for God through His power.
Our discussion today about work is not so your mom and dad have an excuse for making you do chores around the house.
We’re talking about this because it’s very important to God, and if we don’t understand and obey, there will be many consequences. Perhaps some of those consequences are already creeping into your homes.
I love you and your family — even if we’ve never met — because God is worth it and you’re a unique creation of His. To that end, I’d like to help you and your parents discover the joy and purpose of chores.
Granted, the Bible does not talk about chores, but it has a lot to say about work.
And — as usual — there’s way more than we could discuss in one episode, so I’ve collected just seven principles that should motivate our chores.
1. Our work was always part of God’s plan — it matters now and eternally.
From time to time on this show we’ve talked about the Fall when mankind rebelled against God for the first time. Many things changed that day, and one of them involved work.
God told Adam that because he sinned work would become very hard.
But, did you now that work is not a result of the Fall? God called Adam to work way before he sinned. God called Adam to work before Eve was created later that same day. God commanded Adam and Eve to work before they even knew about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Now, before I continue, if at any time you hear something about the Bible you didn’t know, I suggest you write it down so you can check it out for yourself later.
Anyway, the point is that work is good. God was the first to work, and we will spend all eternity working alongside Him. Now, if that sounds like a terrible thing, then it proves the fact that you don’t really understand work.
And — of course — it’s also a result of the fact that sin has infected this world. Work is a lot harder than God ever intended it to be.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it and use it to please Him.
Also, the Lord has expectations for our work. In I Thessalonians 3:10 we’re told, “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” If you want the benefits that come from living in your home, you need to be prepared to participate in keeping the home running.
So, number one, God create work to be beautiful.
2. God equips us with unique skills and passions that He intends us to use in work.
God never calls us to do something for which He doesn’t equip us.
Consider Romans 12:6-8, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Many times when instructed by an authority, requested by a loved one, or both, children and adults are tempted to say, “I can’t.”
To this, as a parent, I reply, “Please don’t lie. I do my best to never ask you to do something you can’t do. You may not want to do it. You may not feel like doing it. You may think you can’t do it. But you need to trust me that you do have the ability to accomplish anything I ask. If you’re not certain how to do it, just ask.”
Whether it’s sweeping the floor or planting a church, God knows what we need and gives it to us. The beautiful thing is, most of the stuff we need to accomplish a task is found outside of us.
I received physical strength and mental ability from God. I was instructed by someone else in how to accomplish the goal, and I likely need help from others to do it well.
Now, that’s not always the case, and in situations where it starts off that way, eventually I shouldn’t need as much help if it truly is a one person job.
My point is, we need to be honest with ourselves. Parents, be sure you’re not asking your children to do things for which they don’t have the ability or resources.
And — let’s be fair — kids, that rarely happens. So, in love we all need to assume that the authority knows our abilities and resources and knows we can accomplish the job. And then all we have to do is figure out how to the job or ask for clarification. But it all starts by trusting that God will never put us into situation in which it’s impossible to glorify Him.
Now, I hope you’re noticing that we’re talking more about our spiritual state than the amount of knowledge we have or the specific physical skills necessary to do a chore.
This is because of our third point.
3. Who we are as we work is more important than how we work.
Just like true obedience is doing the right thing in the right way for the right reasons in the right power, completing our chores to the glory of God is going to require that we do the right things in the right way for the right reasons in the right power. This means we need a relationship with God, know how to glorify Him, and desire to do so,
That says more about relationship with God and our character than it does our abilities.
Consider Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,”
Let’s be honest, the Lord is more interested in humble, submissive people than He is “strong” or “talented” people with their own plans for how life is to be lived.
Who we are as we work is more important than how we work. Here’s why: if I’m the right person, I’ll work the right way. If I’m the wrong person, it doesn’t matter how “right” I do the job . . . the Lord won’t be glorified.
When I used to teach in a school, I would ask my students what their goals were for the year. Every year there was at lease one student who said they wanted to get all “A’s.”
I would then take the opportunity ask the class if they thought that was a good goal. Most of the class agreed.
But then I showed my students how any goal that can be accomplished without God is not a good goal. I can hack the online grade book. I can bribe or blackmail my teacher. I can cheat. I can get “A’s” in my own strength. But the Lord will not be pleased in any of that.
However, if my goal is to glorify God by being the best student that I can be, I will pay attention in class, take good notes, ask questions when I don’t understand, do my homework well, study hard for tests, and trust the Lord for the outcomes.
If I’m that kind of student, do you think I’ll get good grades?
Yeah, I think you all get the point.
4. Our work should be focused on serving others.
Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
Think about what chores are: like we mentioned earlier, when we do our chores, we’re participating in family life. We all work. We all eat.
However, there’s more. It’s true that I generally only use one plate when I eat. And yet, when I do the dishes, I end up washing everyone’s plates. When I wash the dishes to the glory of God, I’m accomplishing four things:
Yes, it’s true, not every chore is completed for the benefit of all, and some chores are done solely for our own benefit. But most of the work being done in a family should be done as an act of worship to God and an act of service to the family.
If your family hasn’t listened to our Four Family Loves series starting in episode 128, you all really need to. Without love, all of our choices are selfish. Everyone does only what they need to do to get by, manipulate people, and keep from being punished. That is a selfish house in which no one wants to live.
Also, I encourage you to subscribe to Truth.Love.Parent. if you haven’t already. That way you won’t miss an episode. I’m mentioning this now because in just a little while I’m going to have Jessica Mair on the show to discuss “Rearing a Servant.”
If you want to know what the Bible says about training your children to serve, and if you want some super practical examples of how to do it, don’t miss that episode with Jessica Mair.
Alright, moving on.
5. We must have a godly rhythm of work and rest in order to work well.
This is another subject on which I want to spend a lot of time later.
However, for now, every family member — especially the bread winner — needs to realize that there is such a thing as too much work. God created us to work, but He also created us to rest.
I love the imagery in Genesis 1 and 2. God created Adam, had him name the animals, created Eve, and then their first full 24 hour day of life was spent resting with God
Yes, Adam and Eve worked the garden, but they also walked with God in the cool of the garden.
Now, I know the kids in the room completely agree with me. There needs to be more family play time, more relaxation, more down time. But I also know the parents are thinking, “Are you crazy?”
Well, no, I’m not, and neither is God.
Start with an hour or two. Next week, make it three. Before you know it, you’ll figure out a way to spend one whole day resting together as a family every week.
I know it may crazy, but — trust me — it’s biblical, Christ-honoring, possible, and necessary.
6. Our work multiplies in relationship.
We’ve talked a lot recently about how relational God is. He doesn’t merely want to have a relationship with us, He Himself has a relationship within the Trinity.
But think about point 4 a little more. It’s hard to serve others when you’re not in a relationship.
Not only does family work flourish within relationships, but it multiplies as well. Generally, the more people involved in the job, the more efficiently it can be accomplished.
The old adage is, “Many hands make light work.”
I love the image we have of the New Testament church. Acts 2:42-48 says, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
Look how much they were able to accomplish, and they still had so much time to dedicate to the direct worship of God.
Not only does relationship make it possible to serve each other, and not only does relationship make most jobs easier, relationship also make most jobs more fun.
At Victory Academy for Boys where I work, the guys are on a chore rotation, and we always have two guys in dishes. Well, I’ve noticed that the guys who enjoy each other enjoy washing dishes together. The guys who can’t stand each other hate washing dishes.
Now, there are many other reasons for this, but the point still stands that a good relationship makes for more fun.
Okay . . .
7. Work is a gift to be enjoyed and shared.
When you add all of these points up, they equal far more than the sum of their parts.
A family who works this way will find chores to be a joy. It gives them an opportunity to serve God, serve others, enjoy each other, keep the house decent and in order, and exercise the gifts God’s given them.
Isn’t the kind of house in which you’d like to live?
Now, I started by saying I had 7 foundation stones for family chores. But I also have a Bonus Point, and I know the kids will really appreciate this one: God wants dad and mom to work too.
Now, parents before you choose to get all offended, I understand that you work. If you’re listening to this podcast, you likely have a pretty well-developed work ethic. However, I don’t think we parents often realize the immature conclusions to which our children jump.
This is why I did episode 104, “Your Kids Need an Interpreter.” Be sure to listen to that one if you haven’t already.
Anyway, I understand the fact that I work over 60 hours a week in order to provide for my family, but that’s out of sight, out of mind. If I refused to participate in family chores, it’s very likely my children might well think I’m just being lazy.
Not only that, I have to challenge us parents to get our minds straight on this point. True, many of your work outside of the home for 8-12 hours a day. But what are your kids doing all day? They’re working for 8-12 hours at school, practices, rehearsals, lessons, and sometimes actual paying jobs.
I believe that the amount of work done outside the house does not exempt us from work inside the house.
Family chores are a family thing.
Now, the family who works less outside of the home can serve the ones who work more outside of the home by offering to do more of the housework, but all I’m saying is that we need to stop excusing our lack of participation in housework because of the amount of outside-of-the-housework.
In addition to the 60 hours of work I do, and the work I do for TLP and church, I still have time to help with laundry, cleaning up around the house, vacuuming, yard work, and dishes.
It’s my house. I’m the one of the most mature people in the home. I need to do my part.
We all do.
On that note, I have a little chore for you. Will you please share this episode on social media? I’d appreciate that.
I also have today’s episode notes posted on our blog. The link is in the description.
And — if there are any kids in the room, they may want to plug their ears — on our next episode we’re going to talk about how to biblically respond when your children say, “I don’t know.”
I hope to see you then.
And if you’re kind of bummed because you thought I was gong to discuss the actual chores in which your children can participate, I plan to talk about that later.
For now, just know that God has high expectations for our family work.
It’s relational, beautiful, productive, and gift to us all.
See you next time.
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