That Point I Was Trying to Make…

…changed on me.  A little, anyway.  

I spent today following around the lady at church who oversees our cleaning ministry.  Two hour walk-around, inspecting each and every room in our church.  (Dude!)  I was trying to separate temporal and eternal work in my previous essay, and there *is* a separation, but it’s not in the type of work that our hands find to do, it’s in for whom we are doing the work.

That’s why our work is judged in Heaven, not on Earth.  It’s not the outward appearance that tells the tale, either – that’s why it’s *all* thrown on the fire.  What survives the fire is what we keep through eternity.

So half the point I was making still obtains – the eternal is what we need to concentrate on.  But eternal stuff isn’t what looks eternal to other people, or even what we get happy fluffy bunnies from doing, eternal is judged eternal by *God*.  What we do for Him, that’s what lasts.  What we do for ourselves – even if it looks holy – is dross.  It will burn.  

Scrub the church for God?  That’s eternal.  Yes, even sitting and wiping every single chair leg down… that’s eternal.  The lady I was following told me that there are ladies who have volunteered to clean bits of the church and have been faithful in that cleaning for over a decade.  They come in once a week, do a job, and go away.  No one knows about them.  God knows.  I know that sort of story is almost trite in Christian circles, but I heard more than just the faithful service bit.  I heard her tell me about the level of perfection they go for.  Day after day, cleaning as unto the Lord – clean enough for Jesus.

That hit me, because I’m the farthest possible from a perfectionist.  How much of what I do is for Jesus, and how much is for me?  For my ego, to make me the “good wife” or “good mother” or “smart girl” or.. whatever.  Even just in my own eyes, that’s not doing it for Jesus, that’s doing it for me.  

I am inspired…….. 

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14 thoughts on “That Point I Was Trying to Make…

  1. donalgraeme

    “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

    2 “Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    (Matthew 6:1-4)

    What we do, all that we do, should be for God. As Christians, perhaps we should be constantly asking ourselves: if I do this, will it help bring about the Kingdom?

    Reply
    1. hearthie Post author

      Donal, I’m totally going to agree while simultaneously voting you in as my Catholic reader who brings up every bit of doctrinal difference…. 🙂 Premillenial here – but MARANATHA – come quickly, Lord Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Reply
      1. donalgraeme

        The funny thing was, I wasn’t even trying to bring up a difference. I was asking the question in good faith. I’m still in a “rediscovering my faith” mode, so I ask a lot of questions like that.

      2. hearthie Post author

        Bother! Okay. I was doing this toast thing and agreeing with you rather than giving you a solid theological answer. (And knowing that you’re asking questions helps me – I can be more thoughtful from here out).

        I don’t think that anything we do brings about the kingdom. The Lord will return (quite soon, from the looks of the mess we’ve made) when it suits Him to do so. No one knows the hour. So – I don’t think humans are going to fix this world so Christ can come back. Very much the opposite.

        However, what I do believe, that everything we do should make Jesus look good (aka give God the glory) is close enough to that in spirit to not want me to split hairs with an honest man. What I am to exhort my reader to do is to always focus on Christ and what He wants, and to have a tight relationship with Him.

        I am learning this… about the inside of my heart and what needs to get ripped out so that I can be God focused and other focused rather than, “Am I doing good? Am I? Am I?” which is something I default to, to my shame.

        I was raised in the church and being a good Christian girl is something very easy for me. I can look nicey-nice and play that game to the hilt. But I don’t think Jesus wants me to play religious nice-games, I think He wants me to be honest, real, and utterly dependent on Him and not my own strength. At least from His treatment of the Pharisees, that’s what I see.

        So – I will keep being as real as I can, and next time I will give you a more Scriptural and complete answer.

  2. Maeve

    The passages of sacred scripture which Donal referenced are the subject of frequent sermons at my church. But one other point our priest makes is that we can both simultaneously act in service to the Lord and take a measure of personal satisfaction in it. In fact recently he was discussing that if we examine those occasions when we have felt best about ourselves and our actions, and those occasions tie into service to the Lord in some fashion, then we can use this as a sort of barometer to know we are on the right path. Is that sort of what you’re getting at?

    Reply
    1. hearthie Post author

      That’s where I was starting, but I moved out a bit. I agree, I think most of us take satisfaction in serving God. It feels good to do good, most of the time.

      However, I am noticing in myself a tendency to seek social approval or at least self-approval (I did good! Yay, I am a good girl!) rather than, “I served God in this” or “I helped this person”. That’s something the lady that I followed mentioned. It’s easy to do well the first day you scrub that wall, but the 15th day you come in to scrub the wall, to do it just as well, even though you know you scrubbed it the day before and you’ll be there to scrub it the day after – that takes some backbone. That takes a heartset of “I’m scrubbing this for Jesus” rather than “I’m scrubbing this for the church” or “I’m scrubbing this for my supervisor”. Process oriented *as well as* product oriented.

      The way that society is moving (regardless of whether or not we’re closing on the Last Days) Christians being Christians are going to feel larger and larger amounts of social disapproval. We’ve been nice for centuries, and we’re going to be made to feel not-nice, even when we’re being kind and gentle and good. The only solution IMO is to prepare our hearts by focusing on Christ and pleasing Him, to learn to seek (and receive) satisfaction from our relationship with Him, to joyfully accept other pats on the back as they come, but to focus our hearts and minds on the Lord.

      I need to find other ways to say that last, because it comes out in Christianese and doesn’t express the fullness of my heart on this.

      Reply
      1. Maeve

        I see what you’re getting at. Sometimes, though, we have to take baby steps – we may start out “doing good” for the affirmation we receive (self or from others), but through Grace, our hearts can move beyond that. At least I need that Grace (everyday!).

  3. Pingback: Some Weekend Reading For Your Enjoyment |

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