Ah, doing the washing. I’m willing to bet that during this lockdown many people have discovered just how much clothing their household goes through in a week. Who knew we owned this many clothes?!? Does it never end?!?
I’ve been doing the washing in our house for years (not the ironing though!) and so none of this has come as a surprise. I’m an old hand at these things, as some of you are too. I know all too well that loading the washing machine is the quick and easy part, it’s the hanging of the washing that takes a long time. Well, at least for me it does. Apparently no one in the house can take off an item of clothing without it getting turned inside out, so before I hang the clothes I turn them the right way round, I also match up the socks, and carefully arrange the spacing so that I can fit the maximum amount of clothes on the line. Yep, I’ve been domesticated! I also tend do a few loads of washing, fill up the baskets and then go hang it all up in one go. This way I don’t break up my work flow on sermons and other admin tasks too much. It does mean, however, that those hanging sessions can take a fair while and to keep me sane I’ve found a way to redeem the time.
Let me explain what I mean by redeeming the time. In Ephesians 5:15-16 Paul has these words to say:
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (NKJV)
Other translations put it this way: “making the best use of time” or “making the most of every opportunity”. In a broader sense Paul is urging us, as believers who have seen the light of Christ, not to carry on living in the darkness engaged in sinful or frivolous pursuits. Within this point he is urging us to be prudent with the limited amount of time we have on this earth. This not to say that we have to try and do more and more for God to the point of burnout. Rather let us be wise with our time. One way that we can do that is to take the time spent on mundane tasks, like hanging the washing, or sitting in traffic (as we used to do), and find a way to enhance or “redeem” that time to further and grow our relationship with the Lord.
There are many different ways we can do this and I encourage you to think about how you can redeem the time in your own daily routine. Whether it involves prayer, worship or study, you’ll need to find what will work best for you. For me, when it comes to hanging the washing I’ve often found it helpful to play some music on a bluetooth speaker via my phone. Then I am able to worship as I peg up the clothes. But what has really been great is to use the time to listen to sermons or Biblical study series so that I am learning something, furthering my knowledge of God’s word, all while I get the washing hung. One of the resources that I’ve especially enjoyed is the Renewing Your Mind podcasts from Ligonier Ministries which provide good solid theology in an accessible way, plus they take about as long as a hanging session so by the time the podcasts ends I’ve both learnt more about God’s Word and got the washing done!