The Clean-Up Hassle

Jesus tells us in his last charge before leaving the earth to make disciples (Matthew 28.18-20). This takes an extremely human touch. More often than not, it’s also a touch that’s more the marathon kind than the hundred meter sprint kind. Systems can’t create this for us. It takes intentionality in our interactions, schedule, and the very way that we teach and train as leaders. We have to be building disciples and disciplers.

But, let’s be honest. This is not at all the fastest or easiest method. When my kids’ room is a mess, I know I have two options: the easy one and the right one. It would be much simpler and faster if I just whipped through the room, gathering stray laundry and replacing books on the shelves. It would be much less of a hassle. And it would avoid the inevitable struggle that accompanies the other alternative- teaching my girls and encouraging them to clean up after themselves.

“Girls, do you remember now why we clean up as we go? We can avoid taking two hours out of your day dealing with the giant mess you’ve created for yourself.”

“Kalista, it’s hard to imagine you’re doing much cleaning when I keep finding you sitting in the middle of the floor with a blanket on your head.”

“Maleah, I appreciate the fact that you’ve alphabetized the books that are off the shelf and have now re-read three of them. But they’re still not back on the shelf.”

“Yes, you have to keep cleaning. And in the 10 minutes you’ve been continually asking me this, you could have been completely finished.”

Hassle. Headache. I want to just do it and be done. So. Much. Easier. But that’s not healthy for them. It doesn’t teach them anything other than how to be reliant on others to do their jobs. And it’s not healthy for me. I don’t need more things to keep control of. I don’t think most of us do. The typical human being struggles to let go of areas they control- even small areas like this are sometimes a big win. And, I need to consistently and consciously be looking for ways to lead my children and helping them become leaders themselves. And that starts with me not doing it all for them.

The same is true in our churches and businesses. Look to lead. Look to develop. Stop doing the work for the people in your charge and chalking it up as “training”. If you’re not careful, your kids will grow up still expecting you to clean their apartments for them.

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