“…to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.” Titus 2:5
The Bible is a wonderfully-written masterpiece of God speaking through men to all mankind for all the ages. And while each individual prophecy and letter was not written to us personally, we must be able to read it and understand the context so that we can apply it to our own lives. The Bible speaks to and can be applied to every area of our lives.
In the letter to Titus, Paul writes to this young pastor who was overseeing the churches in Crete. Paul and Titus had a ministry together there, and then Paul left Titus to continue care for these new believers. Cretans, according to Chapter 1, were “liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” So Paul knew that Titus had a job on his hands to help these new believers understand and walk in Kingdom ways. In Chapter 2, Paul gives Titus a list of roles for men and women, young and old. Older women were to be exhorted to be reverent, not gossips, but rather teachers of good things. Older women were also to admonish younger women in the church to love their husbands and children, to be pure, and to be homemakers, among other things.
In our culture, we fight against the idea that women can do anything men can do. In some ways, being a “homemaker” in our culture takes a back seat while trying to pursue a man’s career. However, according to Scripture, women and men have equal value but different roles. We are not made the same. That’s why we work so well together! According to this passage, women are called to be managers of their own homes, and loving toward their husbands and children. This is not a woman’s-only place, but it is a vital part of our role as women. We are made to care, to nurture, and to bring beauty that refreshes and nourishes.
If the family is the micro version of the church, then we should see our homes as the micro version of a church building. When you come to one of our church campuses, there’s cleanliness and order. It creates a welcoming and peaceful place for people to come to be served and ministered to. As the homemakers of our own homes, we must see our homes as “ministry centers.” First and foremost, our homes are to serve our families and/or those living with us. I’ve been surprised at how much it serves my husband to come home to a house that is clean and in order. And for my kids, I am teaching them to steward what God has given us. Our homes are also intended by God to serve others. We are to use our homes as a place for Christians to gather together. They are also a place to welcome strangers and unbelievers so that they can experience the presence of God.
As we know, a house does not keep itself, although that would be nice!! Our homes need to be kept and maintained on an ongoing basis. It’s not about “perfection” and vacuuming the house in heels and pearls (ha!), but it’s about creating an atmosphere of cleanliness, order, and a homey-ness that is welcoming. We need to ask ourselves these questions: Does my home reflect the King and His Kingdom? Is my home clean and in order to serves others? Do I show the same care for my home that my local church shows for our campuses? Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a woman working in the marketplace, single, married, young, or old, we are all called to care and keep our homes. And if God has called us to something, He certainly supplies the strategy and grace to do it!
So what are some ways we can practically keep maintenance of our homes in front of us, without constantly striving for perfection? One tool that we’ve found helpful is creating a chart of chores and/or tasks for each day. There are multiple versions of this on sites such as Pinterest, and here are a few that include the basics:
We like these because they break down multiple tasks in a simple, organized way that doesn’t feel as overwhelming as the thought of cleaning an entire house all in one day! If you follow a schedule like one of the ones above, you will end up touching just about every room in your house throughout the week. This way, you aren’t rushing around right before guests arrive, but instead are maintaining cleanliness, peace, and order in your home throughout the week.
Other times, I’ve found that I need to make a list of all of the chores I want to complete and then prioritize them. It’s not always realistic to think I can complete the entire list in one day, and sometimes that can make me want to give up before I even begin. I’ve found that once I start, it’s typically not as daunting as what I had thought in the beginning.
Charts are another great way to begin to involve your children in home upkeep. Here is an example of age-appropriate tasks for your children:
When I was growing up, my family would do a ’10 second tidy’ many nights before we went to bed. My mom would set a timer (okay, it wasn’t only 10 seconds, but typically around 5 minutes!), and we made a game out of how many things we could put away or clean up within that 5-minute timespan. This kept our house relatively clutter-free but was not a daunting, drawn-out, cleaning session. The principle of straightening up clutter each night has stayed with me since playing this game as a child, and I am grateful!
What about you? Do you have other tools to help keep cleanliness and order in your home? We would love to hear your ideas!
By Lauren Evrist & Erika Millard