By Tammy Tkach
I have a confession to make: I don’t like housework. I’d much rather be out in the yard mowing, trimming or weeding–even in August. It’s psychological I’m sure. When I mow, at least a week goes by before it needs it again. When I mop the floor or clean the kitchen, the effects of my cleaning can be wiped out in less than a day. I’ve also discovered if I leave my glasses off I can deny the need a little longer.
After years of denial and putting off what I should be doing, I’ve come to terms with it. It must be done whether or not I feel like it. We face many things we don’t want to do. Some can be stubbornly denied for years, like exercising or cleaning out the attic. Some are more urgent, like doing taxes or changing the oil in our cars. Sooner or later most of us grow up enough to suck it up and do what we’d rather not do.
I often think of Jesus when faced with difficult tasks, especially if they are unpleasant or painful. He prayed so hard in the Garden of Gethsemane he sweat blood, asking his Father more than once if he could get out of what he knew was coming. As he was fully human he most assuredly wasn’t looking forward to death on a cross. But he faced it with grace and dignity, knowing he came for that purpose.
Are you facing something you’d rather not do? It could be insignificant or major, with corresponding consequences, but either way you might need to consider Jesus and do them anyway. Everything we do or don’t do has an effect on someone, to the good or bad. When I don’t clean, my house isn’t as pleasant a place to live. If I don’t mow the lawn, not only do I bring down the appearance of my street, but also I could face city code enforcement. Other things we put off or ignore could harm people or the environment.
For believers, putting off Bible study or other spiritual disciplines can have immediate and long-term effects. Growing in grace and knowledge doesn’t come automatically. We must put in some effort and time. Our eternal reward doesn’t depend on legalistically practicing the disciplines, but we could be missing out on living in the grace and joy of a deeper relationship with Christ.
Paul talks about being mature in Ephesians 4:13. In 1 Corinthians 13:11 he says we are to put off childish things, which includes irresponsibly avoiding what we know we should do, either for the good of others or ourselves. It can be difficult to move from childishly shirking responsibility to maturely accepting it. But for us who are in Christ, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can grow up into him and become more like him. He is our role model even in this.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get busy on some, uh, unfinished business.