Each year for Thanksgiving, my mom rolls out a huge feast. She makes one of every kind of traditional food and then some. Each dish is placed in her fancy dishes then served. Once everyone is stuffed after the meal, she promptly disappears for the rest of the day in the kitchen, putting leftovers away and washing the dishes while the rest of us retreat to the living room to visit.
The lesson I learned from this habit of my mom’s (especially now as an adult when I must travel to get to her house for such gatherings) is that dishes are dumb. More important things await in the living room.
Luke 10:38-42 tells us the story of sisters Martha and Mary. Jesus had come to their house for a visit. While He was there, Martha was busy doing stuff. I always imagined it was the dishes after a meal that she was fretting over. Meanwhile, perhaps in the living room of the home, Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and soaked up every minute of His visit.
When Martha grumbled because Mary wasn’t helping her with all the stuff, Jesus corrected Martha because Mary was in the right. Life is fleeting, and Mary was enjoying Jesus while He was there.
Different commentaries will give various lessons that can be learned from the Martha and Mary passage. But my big takeaway has always been to focus on the present. Sure, there are dishes to do. But enjoy the here and now before it slips through your fingers.
This concept can be applied to whatever season you’re living in at the moment. For me, it centers on my family. My children are growing up fast. The days are long, but the years are short. And, yes, the house may be a huge mess. But right now, I need to praise my oldest son for his latest creative Lego build, or laugh at my middle son’s goofy jokes and facial expressions, or drink pretend tea served to me in my daughter’s toy tea cup.
When guests come over to visit, yes, I’ll make a feast for them to enjoy. Maybe not as huge or time consuming as my mom’s, but I will make something for them to enjoy. But after the meal is done, I’ll retreat along with them to living room. Because the dishes will still be there later, or tomorrow even. But we are together now.
I challenge you to do the same. Prioritize. Yes, housework most definitely needs to be taken care of. But so do relationships. Live in the here and now. Life is for sure fleeting, so don’t waste it on stuff that won’t last.
The dishes can wait.