Yesterday was the kind of day some harried mother must have had when she coined the phrase, “If a woman’s place is in the home, why am I always in the car?”
I knew I had to be at one place at 9 a.m., but I hadn’t foreseen several other things coming up and errands piling upon errands throughout the day. I won’t bore you with a blow-by-blow account, but by 5:30 p.m. I ended up bringing fast-food dinner home to sit down for a few minutes until church. During the course of the day I was informed of an opportunity for service at church that evening — actually more of a responsibility than an opportunity. Maybe because it was unexpected, maybe because I was already tired — I’m a homebody, and being out all day makes me tired and a little cranky — I did not react with joy and enthusiasm at the news. Some of the unexpected errands had to do with preparations for this unexpected event. By church time, honestly, if I hadn’t had this responsibility, I might have talked myself into being too tired to go.
Yet we live by faith, not by feeling, and part of faith is not just what we believe but also the outworking of that faith into our daily lives, sometimes in spite of feelings. So I went. And as so often happens, I was glad I did. I had begun the evening tired and harried, and came home joyful and refreshed.
That has happened so often in my life: I remember times of being asked to do something and not feeling the liberty to say no (it’s not that I never say no — I feel perfectly free to decline at times), yet instead of “serving the Lord with gladness” I dragged my feet and chafed at the intrusion on my time and energy. Then afterward I was so ashamed of myself for my negative feelings and so immensely glad I done the task — not just in the satisfaction of having done one’s “duty” or “a good deed” but — I don’t know how to describe it — just joy in actually serving.
Last night I picked up a copy of Joy And Strength, a devotional book of quotes and verses compiled by Mary Wilder Tileston. I had gone through it a few times several years ago and had it nearby to glean some of the quotes of it I wanted to remember. The reading for yesterday fit perfectly:
He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.
O LOVE, who formedst me to wear
The image of Thy Godhead here;
Who soughtest me with tender care
Through all my wanderings wild and drear;
O Love! I give myself to Thee,
Thine ever, only Thine to be.
WE live not for ourselves, but for God; for some purpose of His; for some special end to be accomplished, which He has willed to be accomplished by oneself, and not by another; something which will be left undone, if we do it not, or not be done as it would have been done, if the one ordained to it had done it. We live gifted with certain forms of spiritual grace embodied in us, for some purpose of Divine Love to be fulfiled by us, some idea of the Divine Mind to be imaged forth in our creaturely state. To devote oneself to God is to concentrate the powers of one’s being to their ordained end, and therefore to have the happiest and truest life–happiest, because happiness must be in the accordance of these powers with the law of their creation, and truest, because the attainment of the highest glory must be in the accomplishment of the end for which we were created.
T. T. CARTER
The May 21-25 readings are good and applicable as well.