Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thirty days of work in the Home

Give yourself fully to the work....

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:58

How should we devote ourselves to the works God has planned for us? Fully, Paul says. He also says that we should let nothing move us from our work.

Have you ever been moved from the work the Lord has laid out for you? I know that I have. Here are a few things that I have let interfere with my service to the Lord: fear, insecurity, selfishness, and lack of focus. I am so thankful that the Lord provides aid so that we can stand firm and not be moved by distractions.

In talking with other women, I find that fear is a huge distraction for some of us. It's hard to give yourself fully to your work and to worry, too. In fact, the Anglo-Saxon roots for our English word worry means a mind that is divided. In order to work fully, we need a single mind. God will give us this single mind if we trust in Him. We need to apply the familiar prescription in Philippians 4:4-8, which is to pray about everything and to worry about nothing, while focusing our minds on things that are uplifting. Remembering that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose helps, too.

Some women become moved from their work by trying to meet the world's expectations and God's expectations, too. Or, they may wonder exactly what God wants them to be doing. If you find yourself in this situation, you may find it helpful to study the scriptures with an attitude of trust and to obey what you find there. God gives many clear directions about the works he wants followers of Jesus to fulfill. Start with those you understand. Be faithful in a little and you will be given more. In addition, pray for God to guide you and to open doors for service. Also, ask others what gifts they see in you.

Some women are moved away from their highest purposes by these time wasters: watching too much TV, spending too much time on the Internet, getting too caught up in the news, spending too much time on the phone, or habitually staying up late and feeling to tired in the morning to be about our work.

We can be moved fully from the work God has given us when we cram our schedules with too many things -- even with good things. There are many lovely ways to occupy our time in God's good creation. However, our time here is limited and our mission here is urgent. So, we must pick and choose the best things and say no to those things that would throw us off track.

I remember that when my children were small, a wise and older woman shared about a time when her children were very young. She determined to sew beautiful Easter dresses for her little daughters. As she worked, however, she inadvertently neglected other needs that the children had. Her three little ones pulled on her for attention. Finally, she realized that for that particular Easter, it was more important for her to meet more important needs than it was for her to make fancy dresses. She said, "I learned that day that I cannot always do everything God wants me to do and everything that I want to do, too." She resolved to thereafter choose God's best use for her time.

Sewing Easter dresses may not be an issue for us. However, at some point, we will all have to make choices to stand firm in our work and not to be pulled aside by distractions -- however alluring they may be.

As Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, "Seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness..."

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