I remember years ago the guilt that flooded my soul one Sunday when someone asked the question, “What have you done for God this week?” In the few minutes that followed the question I was told about various ministries from which I had been absent that previous week; all of which had been done by the person asking the question.
I remember sitting there feeling guilty. It was as if the letter “F” had been taped to my chest as I sat there in front of the A+ Christian.
The week had been crazy. With a preschooler, a toddler and a baby to fill my day there did not seem to be much time to accomplish the things on the accountability card. Then there was the morning sickness; and even more worry – four kids in a five year span! Are we nuts?
The girls had all been sick the week before. One night they had each thrown up faster than I could get laundry through the washing and drying cycles. (Seems I have one that never vomits in a toilet – by a toilet but never IN one!) The house was a mess, and with taking care of sick kids while I still was feeling less than perky myself had left me physically drained from energy to pick up the toys that seemed to multiply as they lay on the floor.
Dinner had been brought in by a husband who could hear the desperation in my voice when he asked his daily question when he got ready to leave the office: “So what’s for dinner?" My reply had been the same several days that week, “I have not thought that far ahead.” Store bought pizza has a way of making a stay at home Mom feel like a failure. (Especially when there is more than one in the week’s garbage can sitting on the curb waiting for weekly pickup.)
The question seemed to scream again, “So, what have you done for God this week?”
I remember thinking about how I could not have attended visitation that week. How do you take a vomiting child into someone’s home and try to tell them the good news of the gospel? No, I had not gone on visitation for God that week. I had not handed out tracks to anyone – I had not even left the house the entire week. There had been no time to sit down and read a Christian book, or minister or serve someone in the church. I just had been home; I had been busy all week; but not doing anything spiritual like – leading souls to Christ or feeding the hungry.
“But God, I cleaned up more vomit from the floor than I ever care to clean up again… does that count?”
Then I started to wonder if taking care of sick children could be counted as something done for God?
Almost immediately the Holy Spirit started ministering to my discouraged heart. “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” The verse came to my mind; and I started to think. I had lovingly cared for my sick girls. I had lost sleep doing load upon load of soiled laundry. I had wiped brows, prayed fervently that God would watch over them and heal them of their sickness. I had cleaned my house, (even though the results were not clearly seen when you stepped in my front door). I had kissed my husband when he walked in the door and told him I loved him (as I took the pizza box from his hands and plopped it on the table, but that is beside the point).
It has taken me years to realize that serving the Lord is a matter of learning to listen to the Holy Spirit as He leads and shows me what He has for me to do each day. The Christian life is not supposed to be a competition to see who does the most. That week the Holy Spirit had allowed me the opportunity of serving Him by getting on my hands and knees and cleaning behind the toilet, doing countless loads of laundry, reading stacks of golden books and watching Barney with a fevered child sitting on my lap (breathing less than desirable smelling breath in my face). I had served God – and never left my house (and even a couple days not even gotten out of my pajamas!)
I love the passage in Mark 14 where Jesus and the disciples are eating together when a woman comes in and 'interrupts' their meal. As soon as she reaches her Savior she empties out a box of expensive ointment on His head. In worship from her heart and out of great love she anoints the One who saved her from herself and her sin. The disciples witness her worship and are horrified. Expensive ointment that could have been sold for a lot of money and used for evangelistic purposes has been 'wasted' by this woman! Jesus comes to her defense and silences the criticisms of the disciples by this one statement: "She hath done what she could..."
I guess when it’s all said and done; that is what I want Him to say of me.
All I want is the view of His eyes to be that of joy when He looks at me. I want my life to be lived graciously doing whatever He asks of me – knowing that He will strengthen and I will follow. That the ones I help each week are not another tally mark on a check off sheet; but souls that felt the touch of the Master as I allowed Him to work through me. I can serve the Lord and never leave my home if that is His will for me that week. I can show the love of my Savior to my children as we go throughout our days. I can just listen and follow as He leads – just doing what I can – with what I have, where I am – as He enables me.
I see young moms with little ones under foot; and I want to tell them what took me so long to learn. Being there for your kids when they need you – IS serving God. It’s as needed as visitation, choir, counseling and even church cleaning! There may be those who will witness the time you spend raising your children - doing the mundane everyday things and think of how much time you are "wasting". Perhaps they view the time it takes you to minister to your family like the disciples viewed the ointment that was poured out on Jesus. Time that could have been spent for more spiritual work that is being wasted on the everyday. Then, I hear the words of Jesus again, "She hath done what she could..."
I would challenge you to look this week for how He would have you do what you can. Follow His leading. Will He ask of you to minister to a neighbor who is ill? Do you hear His voice urging you to meet a need of a homeless person you pass while you’re in town? Or perhaps, this week will be like mine years ago, He calls on you to care for the little ones whom He has entrusted into your care. Do it for Him – do what you can.