Toddler Chores and Our Good Works

By Elizabeth Guilbeau

I give my daughter, Adelaide (who is not yet three years old), chores to do if she'd like to do them. I don't make her do the laundry or dishes, but I do ask her if she'd like to do them and earn some change. Sometimes she's eager, other times she'd rather play.

Doing the dishes means she helps put dirty ones in the washer or unloads the clean cutlery and puts them in the correct drawer, putting all the dishes away that belong in low cabinets and handing me the dishes that go up high. It takes about 5 times longer to get the dishes done with her help, but we still do it this way, and she still gets a quarter.

Last week I asked her if she'd like to earn a quarter and do the dishes. She very sweetly let me know she did not. So I started putting them all away, and finally there were only two kid plates left when she happened to walk in the kitchen, and she put those two in her "little kid things" drawer where they belong. She looked at me with great pride for her work and then I gave her a quarter for her help.

The moment reminded me so much of the way God sees us. There is no one verse or story that I am thinking precisely of, but a few come to mind. The parable of the vineyard workers in Matthew 20:1-16, tells of workers who came to work early in the morning and others who came to work late in the day yet were paid the same.

While there are many lessons within this one parable, there was one lesson I could take away from it after watching my daughter do the chore. Having her do the dishes really did not help me at all, in fact, when she "helps" it often creates even more work for me later. But watching her do the dishes brings joy to me. I love to watch her take pride in her work. I don't pay her because she deserves the money, but because I love her and want her to be rewarded for any work she does no matter how insignificant it may be.

Isaiah 6:46 speaks of our righteous deeds as they are dirty garments. The most wonderful deed we might do to please God is still like a dirty rag. It's sweet to see how Adelaide feels her two dishes have done me so much good, she feels she has done so much for me, and I look at her and smile, giving her the coin. I suppose God is also looking at these GREAT works we are doing here on earth and smiling because really what we are doing is nothing, and very possibly even making a bigger mess than when we started.

These moments where God allows me to perhaps see things the way He might see them, strengthen my faith. I mean, it makes the Bible more real to me. I see how real it is, not just crazy words from long long ago.