Sometimes I wrestle with getting chores or homework done with my children. (Ever happen with your children?)
After dealing with tears, exhorting with Scripture, trying a few threats, discussions of virtue, throwing in a reference to the gospel once or twice, the chore is accomplished. (As you can see, I’m not yet at the point where chores are consistently completed cheerfully, immediately, and competently, without oversight.)
Then we sit down for lunch, and I pray.
Thank you Lord….
I pause. Thank you for what? For ungrateful children who are lazy and have to be forced to work?
During my pause, I remember reading “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
That’s what I want God to say to me, but I often whine, need exhorting from Scripture, ignore warnings, quench the spirit’s instruction, get distracted, drag my feet, start and stop. If I’m lazy and spend a few hours reading a book instead of cleaning my kitchen first (true story), then repent and finish well, does God tell me “Well done” at the end of the day? Or does he sniff and say, “Well if you had just started out well you would have done better….”
But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. Matthew 28:28-31
Now, at lunchtime, after all the complaining and exhorting and feet dragging and sighing, when the homework is done, and the floor is clean, I will finish my sentence and say “Well done. We finished school and we did our daily chores.”
I’m not saying we shouldn’t deal with complaining and slow work that is more or less disobedience. The instruction I give as we work is not nullified by the expressed satisfaction of finishing the job. At the end of the day, however we get there, I should not be afraid to say, Well done, thou good and faithful servant, because God’s grace is thus extended to me.