Getting Kids to Work Gladly

When our kids complain about their chores, and even more when they grumble about pitching in to help with the day-to-day work of a busy family, it’s tempting to help them see how good they have it by reminding them how much more work I have to do. But that is not God’s way. It will never turn their hearts from complaining by being a complainer myself.

God made us in His image and when we work, we are doing what He does. When I work wholeheartedly, I show that I am made in God’s image. God is at work.

Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John 5:17). (See also, Psalm 66:5, Romans 8:28,Genesis 2:2, Psalm 121:4, Philippians 2:13, John 5:36, John 14:10.)

We serve an active God who has revealed Himself to us in Scripture, the very book that calls inactivity and laziness folly. Proverbs 6:9 asks, “How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?” Followed a passage that’s sometimes quoted in our home:

A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man (6:10-11).

So important is this lesson that it’s repeated verbatim a few chapters later in Proverbs 24:33-34.

Author Paul Tripp says, “The call to meaningful, necessary, productive, and creative labor goes to the very heart of our identity as creatures made in the image of God.” (Age of Opportunity, p. 203-204 )

Rather than model complaining and holding up all the work I have to do, I need to show our children that I embrace the work I get to do, that which I’ve been called to do. With gladness. It is a privilege to be given responsibility and working joyfully as unto Him brings Him glory. It’s also a prerequisite for more and increasing responsibility (see the Old Testament stories of Daniel, Joseph, Samuel).

I pray today, and every day, I’ll be a good example of what it means to work as unto the Lord with all my heart. There’s much more at stake than just clean dishes.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving (Colossians 3:23-24).