I’ve now lived in my cozy little townhouse for a year and a half now. And for that first year I was very proud of one fact.
I never used my dishwasher.
Yep, it was the old-fashioned scrub-with-your-bare-hands, drip-and-dry-in-the-dish-rack method.
You see, when you start living on your own, your living expenses coming into stark reality as you realize that you have very little money to cover all these ridiculous expenses you have now to pay. And when it came to my house and utility bills, I eyed every little detail like a hawk. It became like this sick version of a Price Is Right game.
The bathroom light. the bathroom fan. the bedside lamp. the heat. the air. the shower water. the sink water. the outside light. the oven.
and then the dishwasher. It didn’t even stand a chance. If I could hand-wash my dishes for free, why would I PAY to use the dishwasher??!!
Unfortunately, I had overlooked one really important detail. In reality, it was easy to toss out the dishwasher because I never really needed to use my dishwasher. All my meals could easily be cleaned up with a quick, 3 minute hand-wash. Because all my meals were made for 1 person.
Which means that I never made meals for more than 1 person. which means no one ever ate at my house. which means I probably prized my low water bill above my community.
6-7 months ago I clearly remember telling someone that I never used my dishwasher. And then the Spirit of God was like, “Hey, you really need to start using your dishwasher.”
And then he continued to clarify.
Open your door. Turn on the lights. Crank up the air conditioning. Buy some good food. Make a great meal. Get a lot of dishes dirty. Let dirty shoes walk over your clean floors. Stay up past your bedtime for a good conversation.
and then when it’s all said and done, when the party’s over, when the last guest has left,
use your dishwasher.
You see, it took some time for me to realize that while everything I have is to be managed well, part of that also means what I have is to be given away. These words from 2 Corinthians 9 have rocked my world again and again in the past few months:
A giving man throws caution to the wind, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. And so God gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way.
So opening my home and allowing my food bill, water bill, utility bill and who-knows-what-else bill to increase can actually be this amazing act of trust and worship, that I’m going to recklessly give trusting that God’s going to take care of me and keep giving me enough so that I can provide for myself and others.
And you know what? It’s pretty cool when you see God increase your standard of living as you have already increased your level of giving. He just likes to bless his kids like that.
So manage your house well. But remember that your dishwasher’s purpose may not simply be to quickly clean up your life, but may also be an tool to help you love and give well to your community.
I’ve learned the same thing in my house! I keep the heat low, the a/c rarely on, the lights off if I’m not in the room, etc… But I also host Bible studies there, and make my “sacrifice” of making it comfortable for the ladies. And sometimes I have to remind myself that when I’m counting the cost in dollars, I’m counting the wrong thing! Good lesson. 🙂