by Karla Hein
Vacuuming has been a test of my obedience lately. “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure ‘children of God’” (Philippians 2:14–15). I sometimes wish my husband and I hadn’t given our kids a CD of scriptures set to music because this verse’s catchy rhythm keeps bouncing around in my head, driving me to conviction.
Vacuuming is such a tiny chore, insignificant compared to negotiating fair trade deals or donating soup cans to the local charity. Why has this chore become a battle that I fight inside myself every time my hand begrudgingly touches the vacuum cleaner? The answer is surprisingly simple. I fight it because I believe that God’s Word is true. God says that “Whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17 NASB). I checked my Bible’s footnotes, and no exception was given for vacuuming. Too bad. If I don’t do my house chores with a grateful heart that is attentive to my Master in Heaven, then I am in defiance of his instructions.
I remember Betsy in The Hiding Place insisting to Corrie that they must rejoice even in the lice that inflicted them in the concentration camp because rejoicing always in every circumstance is God’s command (1 Thessalonians 5:16, 18). It turned out that the lice infestation in their bunkhouse was the reason they had more freedom to share God’s Word and minister to the women in their unit because the guards did not dare venture into their space. Surely in comparison, I can rejoice over something as trivial as cleaning up smooshed rice and muddy shoeprints.
I’m reluctant to admit that since I started working on my attitude, my results have been less than inspirational. I still don’t like vacuuming. This dreaded chore continues to be too loud, take too long and have too short-lived results in my opinion.
As I reluctantly drag myself to the cleaning closet, I now find myself asking, “Will I be obedient in this little task?” Vacuuming has created the opportunity for me to develop discipline and practice obedience in my life (1 Corinthians 9:24–27). I am not aimless in my decision to rid myself of “every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles [me],” (Hebrews 12:1 NASB). I fail miserably at daily faithfulness, sitting here in my lethargic pity parties and selfish attitudes. How beautiful is the invitation to come close to the throne in time of need because of a sympathetic High Priest, my Saviour Jesus (Hebrews 4:15–16)! Our High Priest is called Merciful and Faithful and the throne is called grace (Hebrews 2:17, 4:16).