Cleanliness Next to Godliness?

Cleanliness is next to Godliness! I don’t know how much I have ever believed in that statement … but somewhere down deep in my perfectionist heart, I have justified some common sense in that saying. Of course, I know that you can have a perfectly clean home and live a life of kind words and deeds – and yet still be hell bound. I know that you can live in a home of filth and have strongholds of sin in your life and yet be heaven bound. But at this time, I want to focus on how cleanliness and organization could be a help towards an smoother life – a calmer home atmosphere – and maybe, just maybe, a more positive mindset that would allow you to not only be on top of things inside your home realm, but then be able to extend your gifts and talents outside your home.

For years, I have related my being a homemaker, mom and wife to the following Bible verse. 1 Timothy 3:12 says, “A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well.” A deacon is a servant-leader who ministers to the physical needs of church members. A man is chosen to be a deacon when his personal and home life show signs of management and control. Now, I’m not a deacon, but I take my responsibility as wife, mom and homemaker in much the same way- I’m a servant-leader in my home. Therefore, I am not as effective and able to give to my church and other outside activities when my own home and life is in disrepair or unorganized or wallowing in filth. If I can’t keep clean clothes on my husband’s and children’s backs … if it takes tons of time to find simple everyday living items … if cooking dinner means I have to clean up dishes from two previous dinners … then I should probably step back and take a good look at how much effort I am putting into outside my home and make a decision to make some changes and go back to square one – just taking care of my husband and my kids and my home.

I’m not saying that you should quit your job or give up a meaningful volunteer position, but I am asking you to look at your life and consider whether you have a good grasp on the home front so that you can be free to work and volunteer outside your home.

Many women have a pretty good balance and know their limitations of how far they can spread themselves. But why do many of us feel we have to jump through so many hoops to please so many other people outside of our home? Why do we feel guilty when we don’t stay late every evening at work? Why do we feel pressured to be on every school and church committee? And then we wonder why our husbands seem distant and why our kids don’t behave. We dread coming home to the chaos and the growing indifference.

Does any of this sound familiar? It’s OK if it does. But it’s not OK to keep it that way. Your husband and children and home are a reflection of you and your priorities. If any of these three are lacking … believe me … they will soon be shouting for your attention. A husband might turn to another woman to find a more interested and attentive admirer. Children may start acting out in school and their teachers will be keeping your email inbox full. Your home may look more like a battlefield than a place of refuge, security and a place to build dreams and encourage strength and growth.

I know that this sounds pretty dismal – but I’m wanting you to evaluate and then adjust as needed. Truly, the church committee will not stop meeting just because you made a decision to resign. The women’s organization will still be able to put on the yearly extravaganza even though you won’t be doing table centerpieces.

Please hear me … there will be a time and a place to volunteer and create and sponsor. I’m just asking that you make sure that it is not taking time that could be used to strengthen and gird up the home front. Take 1 Timothy 3:12 to heart … love your husband and manage your children and home well. Cleanliness and organization and quality time may not be next to Godliness, but I figure it sure doesn’t hurt!

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