17 January 2009


I've been thinking more about my post regarding the way I've been approaching kitchen maintenance lately.  As I continued to mull it over, I began to think it helpful to look at this in terms of usefulness; I want my kitchen to be useful.  But as I looked at it more, I began to see some rocks in that path.  I don't want to descend into hard-hearted utilitarianism and pragmatism, which measure everything by usefulness and therefore shut out beauty, goodness, and joy.  I continued to turn this over in my mind and I realized that it's not specifically about usefulness, rather it's about fruitfulness.

The world tends to look at life in economic terms, telling us that we are wasting our lives uselessly staying at home instead of making a contribution. The world focuses on usefulness. The world's schools train for usefulness.  The world measures people's worth by their usefulness.  The biblical response is fruitfulness. It's not about the economy, stupid. It's about so much more!

A kitchen that has every tool and lots of space to work in, but is stark in its efficiency is useful, but not so enticing.  A kitchen that is painted cheerfully, with pictures on the walls, curtains in the window, pretty utensils and crockery, music playing in the background is much more cosy.  The beauty nourishes the cook's heart as the cook works to nourish her family.

Besides efficiency, cleanliness, and orderliness, there are other, intangible aspects of keeping our homes that we mustn't lose sight of.  If I take an hour to complete work that could take me half that time, but I'm sharing a heart-to-heart talk with my daughter as we work, then that's a good and fruitful use of that time.  If my boys toil in the garden and get all kinds of work done, yet are at odds with one another when they're done, that's neither good nor fruitful.

Fruitfulness speaks to getting the work done, absolutely, but it also speaks to joyful relationships, spiritual riches, mended hearts, and encouraged souls.  If we remember this, the world's criticism will fade away as we make homes for our families, our friends, and even strangers.  


1 comment:

  1. Your distinction here is a very insightful one! Thank you.

    I have actually browsed your blog off and on ever since Cindy at Dominion Family linked to your post a couple years ago about leisure being the heart of education. :) Good stuff.