We've eased into it, so now that they've been used to emptying the kids' plastic dishes from the dishwasher, we've given our eldest the task of fillling it at the end of the day (and when she complains, I almost never pull out, "When I was your age, we didn't even have a dishwasher!" - almost never). The thing is, though, even though we've given her the task, I still haven't grown accustomed to not doing that portion of my job - it's still second nature to contiue clearing the counter of dishes throughout the day, so that by the end of her first day on the job, as she approached, down-trodden at the thought of this menial manual labor, she discovered a counter void of dishes and a dishwasher half-full of dirty ones.
"Mom, did you put the dishes in the dishwasher?"
Thinking nothing of it, because I hadn't necessarily gone out of my way, but merely had done what was habit at this point, I responded, "Yeah, I guess I did."
A smile slid out and she said with genuine gratitude, "Thank you!"
It occurred to me that I had done nothing more than I've been doing regularly for the past seven and a half years of her existence, yet this was the first time she had even thought to thank me for putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
And it felt good.
Because it wasn't until the task became her own that she stopped to appreciate that someone else would do that instead. It never occurred to her that it had always been me doing the dishes instead of her, because it had never been "her" job before.
It was a sweet moment.
And I realized as I contemplated this encounter that it's exactly what God did for His creation. When the first two humans were in the garden, it was His job to watch over them and take care of them, to protect their righteousness. They didn't even have to worry about deciding what was good or evil - their sole task was to simply be and to simply be with God as he strolled with them through the garden daily.
Unfortunately, they were deceived and they made wrong choices and from there it was and is a continual story of man trying to watch out for himself, trying to make himself "good," not even recognizing much of the time that God has always been there rescuing and upholding them with His righteous right hand.
So, they built a tower to try to get to Heaven on their own, because they really thought they could do it. And He thwarted their efforts, recognizing they would never be happy so long as they were trying to do this on their own. Because they didn't realize He was already there. He already wanted to be with them. He'd wanted that all along.
And eventually, as though He were saying, "Fine - you want this to be your job? This job of being righouteous enough to be mine? I'll show you what you need to do," He gave them laws to follow. Tablets filled with laws. This is right, this is wrong. Do your hair this way. You cover your head, but you don't cover your head. Do this. Don't do that. Eat this. Don't eat that. Laws. Everything that would be required to be righteous enough to belong to Him.
Because they never trusted He could do it for them. And all along, He had a plan to show them. It was always Him.
After centuries, the plan came to fruition. God Himself came down as a man and completed the task we'd been trying to do on our own all along - He made us righteous.
"For as by one man's [Adam's] disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's [Jesus'] obedience the many will be made righteous" (Acts 5:19)
"Out of the anguish of his soul . . . shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities" (Isaiah 53:11)
And it wasn't until the job had been ours - this job of making ourselves righteous through our own actions - and we felt the weight of a task we were inadequate to fulfill, that we were finally able to see that someone else was holding us up all along. At this moment of redemption, we recognize that the task of being made righteous was completed by the Son of God who hung on a cross, and we turn with a smile on our face and say, "Thank you." Thank you for being there all along. Thank you for completing the task we were unable to complete - the one that we were never designed to complete in the first place.
Gratitude is the only response to the undeserved righteousness poured over us at the cross.
It's His job. It always has been.