I was speaking with some fellow church members and we were talking about the cleaning that you get done before people come over. Isn’t it interesting how much cleaning gets done right before someone gets to your house? I mean throughout the week, you can’t find the time, but then there you are in the last hour before they arrive, and your house is “cleaner” than it has been in a week or even weeks! The mad dash of cleaning that occurs is really nothing more than a deceptive scheme that we use to make people think that we have everything together. In reality, if there are kids in your home, teenagers passing through the house, or even a spouse that tends to leave stuff around… the truth is your home is probably not as clean as you wish.
I kept thinking about this as I went home and thought about how guilty we all are of this. I suppose some people in this world are capable of having a clean home at all times, but they aren’t truly living, because in reality, LIFE IS MESSY. Life doesn’t follow any guidelines. It just happens and in its’ wake is dust, mismatched socks and dirty dishes.
This is the reason that the “pop-over” visitor is not as highly received. People don’t like for others to know that their house is a mess, or more so that their life is not 100% put-together. We tend to not want people to see the true state of our lives. Because again, LIFE IS MESSY!
I realized shortly after moving into my house that people like to just stop by. There wasn’t a warning with most visitors. But that’s when I realized, my home is one of the best ways to include people. My home is one of my best tools in the ministry. My home is an extension of the church.
Hebrews 13:1-2 is an interesting scripture, “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Now I know a lot of my guests have not been angels. They have been rowdy youth, rambunctious kids, weary college students and so on, but angels not so much. But this scripture did open my eyes that my home is more than just a home, it is a getaway, a counseling center, a daycare, an inn, and a kitchen for the hungry. Our homes are meant to feel lived in and are meant to help people feel comfortable.
We will never be able to control dust. I mean seriously, where does it even come from? And WHY?!? Despite dust or the occasional run away sock, we can make our home welcoming. We can love people and welcome people into our living space.
As I talked with my fellow church member about the crazy state of the house, it made me think about the biblical story of Mary and Martha as Jesus came to visit them. How Martha started cooking and working because stuff needed to get done, while Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to what Jesus had to say. The best part of the story is when Martha got overwhelmed with the work and noticed that Mary was just sitting there with Jesus, so she called upon Jesus for reinforcement. Luke 10:40 tells us, “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”” But then Jesus told Martha something seemingly unheard of in verses 41 and 42, ““Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”” I’m not saying Jesus is going to be stopping by with a knock on the door, or a ring of the doorbell. Man, would that be nerve-wracking, but this lesson from Jesus was simple. There are things that can wait, and things that are in need of our immediate attention.
He has shown us how we should be with company. We should be welcoming and attentive. We should be present and humbled, not puttering around the kitchen and living room making ourselves crazy. Sometimes, we just need to sit down and be present in the presence of the Lord, our neighbors, or a silly group of teenagers.
Don’t let housework keep you from experiencing life and sharing love with others!