Ecclesiastes 9:7-10At church our pastor is going through a whole series on The Family called The Home Team! I am loving it. I love looking back at my own upbringing and seeing how I can make life wonderful for my family today. It's always good to see where you came from and how it has shaped you into the person you are today.
Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.8 Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. 9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
Pastor Reid used this passage of scripture to basically say we should be finding joy in our family life...we should be able to laugh with our families. God wants us to enjoy the people he has given us as family members.
Growing up if I were to describe the culture of my family in three words it would be: moody, melancholy, and strict. And looking to the future if I could hear what my kids would say about the culture or flow of our family household I HOPE they would be: loving, full of laughter, and lots of grace!
I want my children to grow up feeling safe, loved, and that we went above and beyond to make life enjoyable for them. Of course we need to have rules and boundaries, work as a team to get family chores done, and use discipline when necessary, but above all I want them to look back on their childhood with fondness! I want them to say, "Oh, I know my parents loved me, they always had time for me, and they always made me feel special and took the time to listen." I want them to enjoy being home because the atmosphere is stress free, safe to speak their mind without judgment, and full of grace so that they know if they make a mistake they are still loved.
I like how this verse in Ecclesiastes starts out with talking about food! I think family life is always linked to meals at the dining room table, and I know there is a statistic that states the more family time you have at the dinner table or at a meal with all the family members the more likely you are developing well rounded and happy children. Growing up we never had meals together. My parents were always working during meal times. It was just the kids at the dinner table and so it was rather boring and I hated eating dinner.
It's been important for me and John to have as many meals with the kids as possible! John will even go into work later than normal some days (he doesn't have set hours) just so he can have breakfast with the kids. During the week dinner time can't always be with Daddy, but I am always eating meals with the kids. We set the table together, and clean up afterwards to.
Right now my kids are young so it's hard to have deep discussions at the dinner table but as they get older I hope we can make meal time a time when we can share our day, and what's on our mind. Right now we do things like ask: What was your favorite part of the day today? Or what are you looking forward to doing tomorrow? Even asking what the kids are thankful for is important.
Pastor Reid was telling us ways that he enjoys life with his wife...going on vacations with just the two of them, having date nights...these are ways we can obey the command "enjoy the wife, whom you love". I love spending quality time with my John also...finding date nights out of the home or after the kids are put to bed is so important to keeping that loving feeling alive in your marriage. Reid was saying sometimes you have to stay more than a night away from home because the first night is usually spent talking about how tired you are, issues with the kids etc...sometimes you need a few nights away to really just enjoy each other.
I love verse 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
Whatever we have to do in the home, with our kids, with our spouse, at our jobs...we should be doing with excellence! The teacher in me says, "Preach it!" To me that means cleaning my home with excellence, taking care of my kids needs with excellence (and having a good attitude about it), raking the leaves, planting in the garden, folding laundry, whatever I do, do it with all my might to the best of my ability because that brings honor and glory to God. I love how it validates our purposefulness. I love that God commands us to do our best, to enjoy life, and to enjoy our family.
This week that is my goal...to do my best in all things, to enjoy my life, and to eat my food with gladness, to find joy in my family, and to be thankful always.