Attend to the practical
Shortly after my husband died, I read a book on widowhood by Joyce Rogers. One sentence in her introduction caught me up short and brought me to a full stop. I read the sentence over several times: ”God will not overlook the neglect of the practical." As a new widow, it was hard to care about the practical things, like fixing meals and cleaning the house. But that sentence kept rankling around in my mind.
God, in His infinite wisdom and complete integrity, has structured the world and our lives in such a way that the practical things actually reflect and portray spiritual realities. Ordered homes display an ordered life. An ordered life reflects the nature of God and our relationship with Him. As beloved children whose heavenly Father is the God of order, we are called to be conformed to His image, His likeness.
I Corinthians 14:33 says that “God is not the author of confusion [or disorder as some translations say] but of peace.” Order brings peace to our homes. And I Corinthians 14:40 exhorts us to do everything “decently and in order.” Paul, the author of I Corinthians, is speaking there about structure in the church, but the principle extrapolated from the character of God applies to all of life. Throughout all of Scripture we see the orderliness of God: His design in creation; His instructions to the people of Israel about how they were to camp, how they were to move on, and how they were to set up; and His instructions to the church. God created order, God demonstrates order, and God calls us to orderliness.
Many things come up in life that derail orderliness: illness—yours or one of your children, grief—the death of a loved one or other calamitous things that happen in our lives, moving, children who need to be disciplined or babies that need to be fed and diapered, turmoil in relationships, too many commitments, etc. Life can get out of hand. The physical disorder that ensues acts as a signal or warning light.
Many things causing disorder in our homes and subsequently in our souls, are not things we have chosen or could have avoided. Yet if we would get on with the business of ordering our physical, outer world, it begins to restore peace and order to our inner world. The practical things keep us living in reality and in the mainstream of life.
Ordering our homes requires commitment: the commitment of aligning our lives with the truth about God. Disorder reflects inner turmoil, or the out-of-alignment nature of our inner souls. As we purpose not only to set our homes in order but to keep our homes in order, our character will begin to line up with God’s character. We will learn consistency, faithfulness, a good work ethic, personal discipline, and a host of other things. All these character qualities lead to peace and true freedom.
We even begin to find joy in the daily drudgeries of life. As keepers of our homes, we are creating a reflection of a contented, godly heart. As workers at home, we must strengthen our arms for the boundless task of building lives in an atmosphere of hope and warmth and encouragement. We are image-bearers, displaying to the world with our ordered lives and homes that there is a God who orders all things well in heaven and on earth. It is a high and holy vocation.
“God does not overlook the neglect of the practical.” Take up this blessed calling of being a “keeper at home.”