by Melissa McDonald
I cleaned the bathroom this morning.
Today I resigned to the fact that doing my husband good included cleaning the bathroom. So I walked down the hallway and picked up my cleaning supplies.
“And me! And me!” Miriam trotted down the hall behind me.
“We need to be quiet, Annette is sleeping.” I rinsed a rag under water for Miriam and then proceed to dip my rag in the cleaning water.
“Dis one! Dis one!” Miriam pointed to my rag. “Mir’am, dis one!”
“No, this one is Mommy’s. You have one there.” I began cleaning. Eventually she gave in and started wiping the bathtub with her rag. Then she stopped.
I looked up. We’re potty training. I washed all the chemicals off my hands, cleaned her up, and found her new clothes. “It’s okay. Just tell mommy next time you need to go potty.” I turned towards the bathroom again.
“And me! And me!”
“You can help by watching!”
“No watch. Mir’am help!” her voice escalated.
“Stay on the carpet, Miriam.” She obeyed and spun around a few times in the hallway.
“Nette! Awake! Awake!”
I heard the baby too. I finished scrubbing the floor, rinsed out my rag, and washed my hands. I would have to finish cleaning later.
I understand that it is no more holy to lead a Bible study than it is to clean the bathroom. But it didn’t feel that way today.
What does it even mean to clean the bathroom as unto the Lord or in a distinctly Christian way?
John Piper lists five ways to make God known at work and you need all five to not compromise your witness to Christ (his points are listed in bold below). These ways of making God known in the workplace can make him known through my homemaking, too.
1. The excellence of the products or services you render in your job shows the excellence and greatness of God.
The gospel tells us of the supreme excellency of our God. He is a God who looked at his creation and pronounced it good. He is a God who gloriously recreates all who trust in Jesus. And as his image bearers, we display his infinite excellency when we do our work well. Am I doing a good job cleaning the bathroom? Given the benefit that a clean bathroom has to our family, am I doing it competently? Do I need to improve my methods of accomplishing this?
2. The standards of integrity you follow at your job show the integrity and holiness of God.
The gospel also announces that the Holy Spirit dwells within me and will transform me into the image of his Son. Jesus always lived to please the Father. And the Holy Spirit is working in me to enable me to live with integrity. This includes doing everything for the glory of Christ (Col. 3:23). Am I cleaning the bathroom so that others will praise me for my housekeeping abilities? Or am I working to glorify God by showing how God’s strength is sufficient in my weakness?
3. The love you show to people in your job shows the love of God.
Jesus laid down his life for his enemies. I have been forgiven for rebelling against my rightful King and trying to set myself up as ruler instead. I was not only forgiven, but also adopted into his family. The radical love that I have received transforms me to love others. Showing patience to my “co-worker” who spends 3 minutes arguing about which cleaning rag she gets to use is love. It is also loving to go through the whole ordeal to bless my husband and our guests. But when I’m irritated with any family member who gets in the way of my cleaning frenzy, I’m not loving them.
4. The stewardship of the money you make from your job shows the value of God compared to other things.
The gospel tells me that I will inherit God himself. The Church becomes the bride that the Prince has won to himself. And when that reality begins to sink in I don’t need to hoard any earthly treasure. So how do I use the reward from my clean bathroom? Unfortunately I don’t earn money from this work. But there is a reward: the bathroom is clean. Am I going to use what God has given me in order to bless others? Who will I invite into my home so that I can show them the love of Christ through hospitality?
5. The verbal testimony you give to the reality of Christ shows the doorway to all these things in your life and their possibility in the lives of others.
As my daughters see the excellence, integrity, and love of God on display, and when they watch me prize him above my earthly reward, I have reflected God accurately and they glimpse his radiant beauty. Now I have the chance to tell them the redemption story. What verbal testimony do I share as we clean the bathroom? Do I complain the whole time? Or do I look for opportunities to tell my daughters about Jesus through each episode of arguments, accidents, and scrubbing?
When I do these things, by God’s grace, he is glorified in and through me as I scrub my bathroom.
- How to Load a Dishwasher by Faith by Melissa McDonald
- How to Glorify God in Your Work as a Mother by Gloria Furman
- God’s Promises Are Better Than Swivel Sweepers by Priya Samuel
- Contemplating My Sanctification While Washing Dishes by Elizabeth Bass
ABOUT THE WRITER
Melissa McDonald (@melissabmcd) and her husband Eric serve and disciple international students at The University of Iowa with their two daughters, Miriam and Annette. Melissa blogs at The Cross and the Kitchen Sink and has written the Bible study guide: To Live Valiantly: A study on the Proverbs 31 Woman.