The latest Netflix Home organising show has hit the screens and Guardian reporter Stuart Heritage is prepared to call it the most 2020 show of 2020- whatever that means!? (The Guardian, 2020) Get Organised with The Home Edit features Joanna and Clea, owners of the organising business The Home Edit who rose to fame when their Instagram account amassed millions of followers. Heritage describes the show as “a bit Marie Kondo, a bit Instagram, a bit Cake Boss.” (Heritage, The Guardian, 2020) I am sure after the success of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, Netflix were prepared to give another home organisation/transformation show some air-time.
In the show, Joanna and Clea come to an Instagram-followers home (ranging from Reese Witherspoon to Khloe Kardashian to ‘Jane Smith’ from nextdoor) and sort, throw out, style and organise their homes according to their rainbow colour coding system. 15 minutes into the first episode and I was partly nauseous, partly covered in guilt at the stuff we fill our homes with and the whole notion that we need to pay someone $250/hour to organise said stuff. Sure, I enjoyed watching Reese Witherspoon and then Joanna and Clea gush over the costumes from Legally Blonde; however I quickly realised having two spare walk-in closets to store Oscar outfits and movie paraphernalia may have made me a step down from from Witherspoon’s income; yet on a global scale I was closer to Witherspoon than I was to the Mama trying to survive on less that $1.90 per day along with the other 330 million women and and girls living below the poverty line (Stockbridge, 2020)
Building Our Home
Preparing for a devotion I was giving on Proverbs to the staff where I work, I felt the words of Proverbs 24:3-4 come to life:
“By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures.”
Surely, this then makes it okay to fill my home with costly and beautiful treasures- right?! Don’t these verses mean it is okay to wisely build your home, establishing it, filling it and possibly overfilling it with beautiful things that bring you joy?
Filling Our Homes with Wisdom
While God has blessed us immensely in the West and wants us to enjoy the beautiful gifts he gives, I’m not sure these verses give license to go on a spending spree in order to create a temple where people can come and worship your design aesthetic and your home success. If there is one thing that becomes extremely clear to me as you read through Proverbs, it is that the heart’s allegiance is what God is most interested in.
Throughout Proverbs, we read over and over of the option to build up or tear down; to choose righteousness or the way of the wicked, the way of self. There are clearly two ways to live- the way of wisdom or the way of folly; one leading to life, one leading to death.
In these two verses of Proverbs, we read that a righteous home; a person; a life is built by wisdom (v.3) and we read earlier in Proverbs that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). We are encouraged to seek a home that is built for God, to be a place where wisdom abounds because hearts live there who seek him above all. Additionally, we see that “a home is filled with knowledge” and that is the rare and beautiful treasure (v.4). We are instructed here to build a home where knowledge and instruction is invested in. We are to spend the majority of our time discipling the next generation in seeking the wisdom of God, gained through the Spirit’s use of the knowledge of God. For wisdom is the living out of knowledge, the practical outworking of knowledge. Wisdom is each of these proverbs is the practical outworkings of living by the grace of God.
A Home, A Haven
A home that is built on the fear of the Lord is a haven in times of trouble. In Psalm 127, Solomon writes:
“Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.”
Here, we are reminded that ultimately it is the Lord who builds the house. Life and homes flourish when God is building them. Yet we also see that God uses labourers to build them; he uses the work of our hands to establish our homes and communities. He works through us to be agents of change- not anxiously working in vain; but resting in the knowledge that he uses us.
In Proverbs 24:10-12 we read:
“ If you falter in a time of trouble,
how small is your strength!
Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?
Here, we are exhorted to know that when troubles come we can stand firm. More than this though, we are given the responsibility to rescue others who are “being led away to death” or “staggering toward slaughter” (v. 10-11). We are to intercede for those who cannot intercede for themselves. Throughout the Bible, God clearly paints himself as in the business of rescue- he is a father for the fatherless (Psalm 68:5-6); a healer for the broken (Psalm 147:3); a husband (Isaiah 54:5) and protector of the widow (Psalm 146:9). He aligns himself with the disadvantaged and he urges us to do the same.
Moreso, he is the Saviour. Through the entirety of Scripture, he is calling people to repentance, to restore relationship with himself. He desires people escape eternal death through his Son’s blood shed on the cross. He calls his disciples to go and make disciples. To ultimately “rescue those being led away to death”, we need to be building homes and lives that proclaim the living gospel.
The second part of this call here in Proverbs however is to stop making excuses. Solomon writes “If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”” God who weighs our hearts perceives it. He knows what we are capable of, what opportunities we have and he will “repay everyone according to what they have done”(v.12).
I so often put advocacy for others in the “too hard” basket, feeling that it is too big for me to really make much of a difference. Yet in this passage, we are called to speak for those unable to speak for themselves. We are also given grace that God knows what we are able to do and will repay us for what we can do.
In Tim Keller’s book Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just (Dutton, 2010), he writes: “If a person has grasped the meaning of God’s grace in his heart, he will do justice. If he doesn’t live justly, then he may say with his lips that he is grateful for God’s grace, but in his heart he is far from him. If he doesn’t care about the poor, it reveals that at best he doesn’t understand the grace he has experienced, and at worst he has not really encountered the saving mercy of God. Grace should make you just.”
So, as we tune in to the latest Netflix series, as we reorganise our closets, as we declutter and parent and tidy; may we be building homes founded on the wisdom of God and may our homes be a haven, spurring us on to love and good works. Just as in Ephesians we are told that ultimately God is building us- “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10). We are a conduit of God’s love, grace and salvation to a world desperately in need of rescue.