She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
I always envisioned myself to be a mother who would be genuinely and consistently patient with her children. Such a vision is easy to maintain when the children of your dreams are unrealistically obedient. They would make their beds, cheerfully, in the morning, never forget to brush their teeth or flush the toilet, and they would play kindly and lovingly with each other throughout the day.
Fast-forward to reality with four sinful kids and one sinful mother and things are not always as I imagined. Today I look at the clock and see that it is 6:45am. In 15 min there will be a stampede of children hurling themselves down the stairs and the day will begin. Just like yesterday. I will have to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which means lots of dishes to wash and put away only to get them out again. Laundry will need to be washed, toys will need to be picked up, and bathrooms wiped down or cleaned. I will have to once again correct the same bad attitudes, arguments and lack of manners that we were working on yesterday and the day before that and the day before that one. I will cringe anytime anyone mentions the word “crafts, paint, play dough or markers” knowing that most of it will end up on the floor, on clothes, on skin, or in hair. Evening will come and there will be the same bedtime rituals, cups of water, bedtime stories, and warnings about not coming out of their rooms. At the end of the day I will fall half dead into my own bed knowing tomorrow I will repeat everything again. If I am not careful I could easily become discontent, bored, and discouraged asking myself, “Is this it?” Do you ever feel like life is a bit mundane?
I am sure the Proverbs 31 woman had these days as well, but she chooses to see the glory in mundane tasks by looking well to her household. It seems to imply that she has a good attitude about her calling as a wife, homemaker, and mother and she sees her work as meaningful, honorable and glorious. But how do we shift our understanding and feelings about our mundane tasks? Let me suggest three truths that we must use as the foundation of all our work.
1. Your mundane work is from God
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
Have you ever read this verse and wondered what those “good works” are? Perhaps you think of Bible reading, evangelism, or serving in the nursery at church. Those apply. But so does all of your work, when done in faith. The job you have, whether it be inside or outside of the home, is part of the good works that God has prepared specifically for you. The tasks that face you each day are custom made for you by your Savior. The laundry-list of things you need to get done today (for some of us, that includes actual laundry) was written by God. This should cause us to work diligently each day.
2. Your mundane work is for God
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31
Everything ultimately comes back to the glory of God. It is why we were created, it is why we are saved, it is why we will one day spend eternity with Jesus. Everything is for his glory. (Rom. 11:36). Therefore the work we do each day should be with God’s glory in mind. (Col. 3.17; 3:23) Our work, our sometimes boring responsibilities reflect the glory of God when we do them for him, rather than for ourselves or anyone else. Even here we work by faith.
3. Your mundane work demands a better attitude from you
Do everything without complaining or arguing.
I had my kids memorize this verse to help them remember that chores need to be done joyfully and not with a complaining attitude. But I have come to realize that this is not just a verse for children, it is a verse for me. I need to do the things that God has for me today with a good attitude. The problem with my workload is not the work, but my heart. Rather than complaining about doing unpleasant tasks, we should cultivate humility and gratitude by coming to grips with this gospel truth: we deserve nothing, and what God has given us is good, and we can find him in it all.
A grateful heart is one that finds the countless blessings of God in the seemingly mundane everyday life. – Anonymous
Begin by thanking Him for some little thing, and then go on, day by day, adding to your subjects of praise; thus you will find their numbers grow wonderfully; and, in the same proportion, will your subjects of murmuring and complaining diminish, until you see in everything some cause for thanksgiving. Priscilla Maurice
Therefore, as Christians, we are to have a great work ethic. Whether we are cleaning the bathroom, cooking a meal, working at an office or teaching the children, we need to keep in mind that those are jobs given to us by God himself and when carried out in faith we honor him and we look well to our household.
“The works of monks and priests, however hard and arduous they be, do not differ one whit in the sight of God from the works of the rustic laborer in the field or the woman going about her household tasks, but that all works are measured before God by faith alone…..Indeed, the menial housework of a manservant or maidservant is often more acceptable to God than all the fasting and other works of a monk or priest, because the monk or priest lacks faith.” – Martin Luther
Looking to Jesus,