Missional Laundry: Where the Gospel Meets the Mundane

May 31, 2018  - By Gretchen Saffles

What’s that one thing you despise on your to-do list every time you see it? For me, it has always been laundry. It almost never gets marked off of the to-do list because the basket is never-ending and the need for clean clothes is ever-present. Each morning I get dressed and then place the soiled clothes into that bottomless basket with the rest of our family’s dirty clothes. With a husband and a two-year-old we go through several loads of laundry every week, sometimes one load per day. Once one load is dry and eventually folded a day or two later, the basket is full and the process needs to be repeated.

If we were to add up the tasks that make up the days of our lives, most of them would be mundane, repeated, unexciting everyday tasks. We often live for the brief moments of being out of our humdrum routines, but it is in those day-to-day tasks that God brings to completion the work of sanctification in our hearts. Daily chores, such as laundry, cooking, scrubbing toilets, and taking out the trash, become an avenue for knowing Christ more fully if we allow God’s scrubbing brush to have its way in our souls rather than resisting His cleansing.

Soap Suds and Scrubbed Souls

My husband and son have a knack for getting tedious stains on their shirts and pants that I have to work hard to clean. They can’t just be thrown in with the load and come out clean like the rest. These items require extra time, elbow grease, and care. The other day I felt lazy and decided to throw my husband’s shorts into the wash, ignoring the grease stain on the hem. When I pulled them out of the dryer, the stain was still there, requiring me to then take the extra steps to clean the shorts—the steps that should have been taken in the first place.

I find myself doing the same thing in my soul’s sanctification. I would much rather take the easy way out and hope God can get the stains of sin clean without me confessing my need for Him, receiving His truth, and replacing my sin with a gospel way of living. Sanctification is never an easy process, but always worth the steps taken to become more like Christ and see Him more clearly in the ebb and flow of everyday life (1 Thess. 4:3). When we embrace our daily, repetitive, seemingly never-ending tasks with a willing heart to know Jesus in the midst of them, rather than in spite of them, the soap suds not only scrub our clothes, but they scrub our souls as well.

Shifting to an Eternal Perspective

The hard truth I’ve come to know is this: how I view mundane tasks and responsibilities (like doing the laundry and tidying up the kitchen after every meal) reveals more about my heart than how I do ministry in public. God sees what is done in secret, and He values our behind-the-scenes affections for Him more than our public affirmations (Matt. 6:4, 6, 18). Small becomes great in the Kingdom of God when these tasks are done for His glory (Col. 3:23). It is not the task that matters, but rather the heart’s motivation behind the task. And there is always a bigger picture to what we do. Keeping that in mind, however, is a discipline we must learn and perspective shift we must make each and every day.

Mundane Tasks

When you fold your clothes, think about who will wear them. Will your husband wear this button-up to work the next day? Pray for him as you spray starch on that shirt and press the steaming iron on the creases. Pray that he would be a light in the darkness as he provides for your family. Will your child wear those shorts with the stain on them you are scrubbing to get clean? Pray for her heart to be soft and moldable to the Gospel as you discipline her in the ways of the Lord. Who made these clothes? Who spun the thread that made the fabric that holds each piece together? Who sewed the buttons and added the label? Pray for those hands. Pray that if they don’t yet know Jesus, they soon will.

There are a million ways to shift our perspectives and love God with our whole hearts, souls, minds, and strength as we go about our daily tasks. 

Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to see how you can use these moments to worship, pray, seek His presence, meditate on the Word, and ultimately build the Kingdom, one missional load of laundry at a time.

The Kingdom of God is ultimately not made up of big and small, great and less—it is made up of people who love Jesus. The CEO of a major corporation can serve Jesus the same way the stay-at-home mom does when both are doing their work wholeheartedly for the Lord. What task can you submit to the Lord today? In what ways can you redeem those moments when your soul tends to complain by praising Him instead? Maybe the next load of laundry you throw into the wash will be the most important task you do today as you take part in God’s greater plan—to know Him and make Him known … one mundane task at a time.

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  1. Toni says:

    thank you for this. this really spoke to my heart.
    God bless you

  2. Katie B says:

    This! This is exactly what my heart needed right here, right now. Thank you!

  3. aimeedehaan says:

    I really enjoyed reading this! It hit right where it needed to in this current season of my life, where mundane tasks and chores rank pretty highly on the ‘need-to-do’ list! Thank you for your life giving words and wisdom, and pointing me back to Jesus!

  4. […] The little moments are where our hearts are formed, our thoughts are shaped, our motivations are refined, and our lives are changed. It’s in the moments when we scrub toilets, listen to a child recite the same fact for the hundredth time, pick up groceries, answer emails, and have coffee with a friend that God is transforming us into the likeness of Christ. These moments matter to God, the Maker of time. And they matter to us. How we spend our days is not only how we spend our lives, it’s how we become who we will be at the end of our lives. That is far more important than being productive and getting stuff done. […]

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