House | Joshua 24:14-24

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

Today is Mother’s Day. It’s also the “Festival of the Christian Home” on the United Methodist Church calendar, a day to focus on the role of the home for followers of Christ. For those two reasons I chose these words from Joshua to the Israelites for today’s Scripture.

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

The “me” in this original context means, of course, Joshua. He has chosen to serve God, and in the patriarchal society of his time he speaks for his whole house. Today, things are a little different. My husband and I tend to have discussions with each other more than proclamations on behalf of one another. So I think it’s fair to say that, today, this “me” can be any one of us: father or mother, single or married, child or grandparent. We have a choice to make: Can we, like Joshua, decide to serve the Lord?

The decision starts with us as individuals, but it’s not only about us as individuals. When Joshua says,

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,”

he includes all the women and children and servants in his house. Our faith starts with us, but includes others.

The prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray didn’t go, “My father who art in heaven… give me this day my daily bread…” Jesus taught us to pray, “Our father who art in heaven… give us this day our daily bread.” Following Christ means following with others – both in church and in our own homes.

But some of us don’t live with other people. In those cases, we might think about how our literal houses serve God. The Hebrew word batim can be translated both house and temple. In the same way that a church might also be thought of as a “house of God,” our homes should also be thought of as temples, as places where God resides.

Once we make a choice as individuals and include the people we live with and the places we live in so that we can say,

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

And here’s some suggestions for how you and your house might do just that.

  • Be a house of prayer. Pray together over meals. Ask each other for prayer requests, and pray for each other during the day. Take time to pray at the end of each day.
  • Be a house of good stewardship. Recognize the difference between a “need” and a “want.” Have a conversation about your budget and how you can spend in a way that allows your family to give to God and to help those in need. Be good stewards of the environment through recycling, limiting waste, and repurposing items instead of throwing them away.
  • Be a house that observes the Sabbath. Give everyone in your home permission to take a day for worship and rest.

Or, think of your own ideas – new practices that will encourage and allow you to say,

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

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