Jesus in the Nitty-Gritty
Yep, I'm still alive and kicking~ myself, that is, for allowing a three-year-old to "help" me paint. More about that later. I've been thinking a good bit lately about this wonderful calling MOTHERHOOD and its companion ORDINARY, EVERYDAY LIFE. My mom told me once that surrendering to do the great things for God is easier than submitting to do the ordinary and common for him. That has really stuck with me. Oh, at a tender age (thank God), I hit the altar every missions service pledging my life to be a willing Joan of Arc or Mother Teresa. No one asked me to surrender to the daily sacrifices that a mother makes.
Recently in Sunday School, the teacher read aloud the account of Stephen. You know, that amazing first martyr of the Church. Go back and read it again. I did, and then once more. Can it be that Stephen was the appointed head distributor of the local food pantry? That when the apostles needed solid laypeople to do the mundane, thereby freeing them up to study the Word and pray, Stephen was at the top of the list? What qualifications were to be filled by the seven people chosen to deal with "serving the table?" "Brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task" (Acts 6:3). I did a little research in the many commentaries of Nathan ;o) (what a blessing to have a man who values filling our home with good books for Bible study). These men obviously were dealing with more than just, "one biscuit or two?" This was a sensitive issue, involving the unity of the Baby Church. Obviously, Stephen did more than this, as he performed signs and wonders, and eventually brought down the wrath of his soon-to-be murderers through his astounding teaching. Don't you think the church should have sent this powerhouse out to start new churches? I mean, why wasn't he a pastor, for Pete's sake? But nope, it seems he was 'just' a layperson.
I found my personal study very challenging. I think it safe to say that all laypeople (of which I am one) need to be striving to meet Stephen's qualifications: holding a good reputation, full of / directed by the Holy Spirit, and full of wisdom/seeing life from God's perspective (as the song says, "let me live in Your Word, 'til Your Word is living in me).
So, this week I found myself asking as I headed to the dreaded dentist appointment where I knew some nasty pain was awaiting my arrival, and as I introduced myself (YET AGAIN) to the nursing home residents we visit, and as I waited a very long time for a non-appearing paint technician at Wal-Mart, and as a I gazed upon the yellow showing through the "guaranteed one-coat coverage" paint I paid a pretty penny for, and as I continued the never-ending kitchen cleaning....
WHERE IS MY WALK WITH JESUS IN THE NITTY-GRITTY LAY LIFE I LIVE? Are my reactions to frustration directed by the Spirit? Is His wisdom flowing out of me toward my children, in my decisions? Am I careful to glorify Him at home, at Wal-Mart, at the DENTIST when they are re-doing the Novacaine injection- youch! Am I like Stephen? Like Jesus? Would I qualify for distributor of the food pantry? Would I accept such a position with a thankful heart and a gracious attitude? To be honest with you, dear reader, I found myself lacking in this examination, and I intend, by His grace, to live more carefully.
"Towels and dishes and sandals, all the ordinary sordid things of our lives, reveal more quickly than anything what we are made of. It takes God Almighty Incarnate in us to do the meanest duty as it ought to be done." ~Oswald Sanders