Laresa Watkins

The Day I Stopped Washing Dishes

Nov 25, 2014

…Well, not really.  Of course, I could never just stop washing dishes.  It would only take a day before the house was engulfed in stacks of plates, bowls, and sippy cups.

I have realized, however, that when I have people over I spend the entire time at the kitchen sink, my back turned to the friends and family that God has specifically, purposefully placed in my house.  I am missing that moment sent from God so that I can wash some dishes, a chore that could be easily completed after they leave! That’s crazy!

I tested out my theory a couple of weeks ago when a couple of my girlfriends and their children were over.  I left the dishes in the sink and sat down at the kitchen island with them.  We talked and drank tea and my feet thanked me, and the kitchen was cleaned up after they left.

Last weekend my dad visited for the day.  We had lunch and my first instinct was to start washing the pile of dishes in the sink.  I did actually begin loading the dishwasher when I realized that my dad, who doesn’t have the chance to visit very often and wouldn’t be able to stay long, was standing next to me trying to have a conversation.  Because I was obsessing over a clean kitchen, I was wasting my time with him.

I stopped what I was doing, dried my hands, and we went outside to play with the kids.  We made a huge leaf pile and even daddy jumped in with the kids.  Turns out he has NEVER jumped in a pile of leaves before!  Can you believe that?  And can you believe that I almost missed out on that wonderful memory because I was washing dishes?

I wonder how many other experiences I have missed because I was cleaning the kitchen?

You know the story of Mary and her sister Martha?  They have Jesus (yes, JESUS) over to their house.  Could you have a more important house guest? He is talking, and Mary is sitting at his feet soaking it in while Martha is busy cooking and serving and probably washing dishes. Martha gets upset that Mary is sitting while she is doing all of the work.  She actually complains to Jesus about this!

We don’t ever complain about our self-imposed hostessing duties, do we, ladies?  

Anyway, Jesus sets her straight in Luke 10: 41-42 when he answers her complaints: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.”

He makes it very clear that our bustling around picking up and pouring drinks and washing dishes is not needed.  We can do that later, or, imagine this, take up our friends on their offers to help clean up before they leave!

I found something very interesting about the names Mary and Martha.  Martha means “lady of the house,” and Mary means “wise woman.” Now, being a “lady of the house” is a privilege, and a duty that I am proud to have.  I love taking care of my home, family, and friends. However, I am going to attempt, especially as the holiday season is upon us, to let more of my Mary wisely shine through.  Instead of washing dishes, I am going to sit and soak in the opportunities that God provides me, and allow him to work in my home.

…and on me.

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