Last month, our family's turn came up to clean the church villa. The timing was awful - it was the first week back after Spring Break and while yes, every week is "busy," that particular week was "BUSY." It took us most of the week just to figure out a 2- to 3-hour block of time where we could even make it to the church building We finally figured out a plan to go on a Wednesday afternoon (church is on Friday). But even then, we failed, since at the last minute I remembered I had a department meeting during that same time period. In the end, we met up with the other assigned family at the church a little earlier than planned and between the 10 of us (four adults and six small children, ha ha), we got the job done.
Now. Here comes the sensitive part. I have no problem cleaning the church if I believe it is my duty as a member, that it's on par with the level of service I do every Friday when I teach the children's class or play the piano. That is sacred, important work, and I have agreed to do it. If cleaning the church building falls into that category, then the time it takes out of my week and the stress it causes for my family aren't issues, because the importance of the work is paramount.
But if cleaning the church is not sacred, important work, then I DO have a problem with being assigned to do it. For the above-mentioned stress and time hassle, yes, but also for more important reasons.
Considering where we live, and the structure of the economy here, it "costs" far, far more for my husband and me to clean the church (if we were charging what we get paid at work instead of volunteering our time) than it would for us to pay a housekeeper or similar individual to do it. Probably several times over. And not only that: said person could even be a member of the congregation. S/he could be someone who desperately needs more work, or a little extra money to send home. But right now, the way things are done, that person needs to sit at home and forego the opportunity to earn money so that my husband and I can have the opportunity to clean the church.
Which, again, if that is my duty as a member of this church, I don't have a problem with it. I'll do it, and I have done it, with a smile.
But in case you can't tell, I've thought about it and come to the conclusion that I'm pretty sure cleaning the church is just...cleaning the church. It's something that needs to be done every week and God doesn't care who does it. In places where the cost of domestic labor is high (like the US and much of Europe, I'd guess), it makes more sense that the members of the church are responsible for cleaning it on Saturdays or whenever. But here, where there are people almost literally begging for a chance to earn extra cash (doing jobs like cleaning houses!), including people (probably - I'm not privy to all the congregation business) who also attend our church - that system doesn't make sense.
What do you think? Feel free to call me to repentance in the comments. Maybe I need it.