There are seven of us in our family, and we eat most meals at home. We also do not have a dishwasher machine. We have a small kitchen that becomes cluttered and unusable very quickly if dishes are not dealt with.
For a long time dirty dishes were a point of contention between myself and my husband. I felt like I washed the dishes more often than he did (I even started keeping count), and that he should wash more, and he became annoyed with me when he was washing and I was sitting around using the computer or reading a book, and not helping him get through them faster by drying. I would become irritated with him when I needed to cook and the kitchen was still full of dishes from the last meal. Such a small thing, but resentment simmered and even broke out into arguments and anger.
I realised my attitude was wrong, and that I needed to change it, but how? I found the following verse, and put it over my sink:
Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters,since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ.
Colossians 3 verses 23-24
Every time I wash the dishes (especially when I really don’t feel like tackling them again), I remember that I am doing them for my Saviour, as an act of love for Him. The difference has been extraordinary: so marked that I can only attribute it to God’s work and the power of the Word of God in my life. The resentment is gone, and if it tries to return I can dispel it easily. We have had no more fights over this issue. Both of us have changed.
When self-pity tries to throw a party, I can boot it out by thanking God. It doesn’t seem to matter what I start to thank Him for. Once I start on that track it’s easy to continue. Perhaps this is the ‘secret’ of contentment that Paul writes about in Philippians 4 verses 12 and 13:
I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
There are many things we can (and do) complain about. But if we are in Christ the reasons for thankfulness are so much more numerous and more significant, and when we focus on these, the heart overflows with joy and He gives us strength. Our thankfulness is a beautiful offering to our Father, more precious than any sacrifice.
I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the Lord more than an ox
or a bull with horns and hoofs.
Let the oppressed see it and be glad;
you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
For the Lord hears the needy,
and does not despise his own that are in bonds.
Psalm 69 verses 30 to 33
In some ways it seems trivial to write about my struggles with dishes, when I know that there are many people in the world who are suffering terribly, people who would love to have three meals a day and the ‘problem’ of dirty dishes. However, it seems as if it is not our circumstances that are the most important factor in our contentment, and that each small battle we face may be a training ground for something greater:
Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much. Luke 16 verse 10
His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy!” Matthew 25 verse 21