"Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come." Proverbs 31:25
I was thinking this morning on the message our Pastor preached last night. It was one of those rare messages where I almost felt like I was being picked on. There are always things that I can pull out of his messages that apply to me directly- always. But last night was one of those where... I felt a little awkward... He was talking about the ministry of helps, which is what I do right now- I clean the church, and of course, that's one of the easiest helps ministries to use for an example. I know I wasn't being picked on, but yet, there was a lot that I took home with me from church last night, and I'm still rolling much of it around in my head, thinking on it.
One of the things he talked about was the very reason why I clean the church- and that is because I do it joyfully. Something that I have always felt impressed upon me when it came time to clean the church was that I would have to prepare myself for it. I would coach myself to spend the cleaning time in prayer or in praise- to not think about the various messes I would discover, and to not spend any time dwelling on anything negative that came to mind while cleaning. Most often now, when I clean, I put on my MP3 player and spend all my cleaning time worshiping and praising. It just has always felt like the right thing to do.
I went to Proverbs 31 this morning to see how my favorite woman did her work joyfully, and to my surprise, it wasn't mentioned. It mentions how she is constantly busy, seeing to the needs of everyone, but it doesn't make any mention of her attitude- and the attitude of joy. The verse I posted is the closest- that she will rejoice in the time to come. Well, I argue that of course she will rejoice in the time to come- but it's equally important to rejoice in the now- regardless of what is going on.
Did you ever have a bad attitude while doing a task? Whether it be at a job or doing something within the household, a bad attitude makes that task seem to take so much longer. Bringing out the joy makes something go much more quickly. My kids are the perfect example of that. On a normal day, when I send them to clean their rooms, they do it grudgingly and grumpily, and the cleaning project takes a very long time- usually several hours. But, when I send them with a mission to clean as fast as they can, as quick as they can, it becomes a game to them. They're trying to beat the clock and get their rooms cleaned up quickly, and they always manage to do it. When they clean with joy, it truly does get done much more quickly.
There's more to it than that, and here is the "not-so-secret" secret. When I do my cleaning with joy- with a song in my heart and on my lips- I'm filling wherever it is I'm cleaning with the goodness of God. Whether that be at home or at church, when I can do my cleaning with joy, it fills the rooms with joy. When I spend my time grudgingly cleaning or cleaning crabbily, it fills the space with negativity. I can tell when I've been crabby during the day at home- because when Andy walks in at night, he instantly picks up on it and then we're all crabby. But when I can tackle my tasks with joy and cheerfulness, it creates a nice atmosphere for Andy to come home from work to.
Ultimately, that is why I clean the church. Because I don't mind the tasks of vacuuming, dusting, cleaning toilets- and not only don't I mind, but I can do them with joy- and I can do them while I sing some really great music to praise God with. It always makes me laugh when people discuss the cleaning, like scrubbing a toilet is the last thing they ever want to do. And yet, every week, when I'm there doing that very thing, I always think that there is no place I would rather be. I enjoy my time serving, and I enjoy knowing that when people walk in the doors Sunday morning, they will be greeted by a nice clean building. Not only that, but they will also walk into a building that has been filled with joy.
Do your work joyfully! No matter how mundane or boring or disgusting the task it, if you can do it with joy, it will make a world of difference. Not only to yourself as you do the task- but to those who will come after you. They will pick up on that joy and not be able to contain themselves. Think of that the next time you do a major housecleaning- clean with joy, and then all who enter will be delighted.