"In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule, "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, never tire of doing what is right."
2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
"A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing." Proverbs 20:4
It is so important for Mike and I to model and instill a solid work ethic in our children. Too often I think kids today are "spoon-fed" and given little responsibility rather than being taught the value and joy of hard work. Mike has taken many opportunities recently to bring our boys along on "work" projects: planting, weeding, harvesting our garden and our church's garden, building their fort, raking leaves at a variety of locations, and little fix up jobs around our house and church. On an everyday basis, the boys are responsible for keeping their room clean, folding and taking care of laundry, dusting, setting and clearing the table, collecting the garbage, keeping their outside toys picked up, etc.
I am personally challenged to develop my own hard work ethic in keeping up with daily household chores as well as lessons with the boys. Several years ago, I would have said that I was too busy to keep up with things around the house because I had (gasp) 2 children, however, I now believe that attitude was one of idleness and selfishness. I was more focused on what I wanted to do during the day than caring for my "jobs" at home. That is not to say I didn't take care of my children, but any "down time" I had was spent on reading or quilting or TV instead of dishes, laundry, cleaning, let alone quiet time with the Lord. (Hobbies and downtime are certainly necessary in a mama's life, but I felt entitled to vast amounts of downtime.) Over the past few years, I've been learning about what God wants for me to be as a helpmate, mama and keeper of our home. We're talking major heart changes (check out an old post - My Undivided Heart). I see my responsibilities and completing them, even the ones I don't like very well - you know, the ones that are NEVER done - as my act of worship and service not only to my family, but more importantly to my Lord. I've really taken to heart the verses in Colossians talking about rules for Christian households...
"...and do it not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
I've come to a place where now it bothers me to NOT do the dishes everyday. I love the feeling of coming downstairs in the morning and seeing my kitchen spic and span! And I'm learning to have a great attitude about doing it. Of course, I'm still a work in progress, but God is changing my heart to be more like him, to be thankful for the opportunity to serve my family and to work with all my heart knowing that I am modeling and training my children for how they will respond to hard work in their own lives.