Saturday, October 01, 2005

Two Good Things, More or Less...

Now that I have settled down more or less into a routine of illustration at the Vet School added to the other daily things I do, sometimes I begin to wonder if I am not overdoing it. Thomas a Kempis has been saying some things recently which give me pause for thought on this:

"If for pity's sake or the purpose of a brother's benefit an accustomed exercise (personal prayer or study or devotion) is at times omitted, it can easily be taken up for later. But if for weariness of mind or negligence it is lightly relinquished, that is blameworthy enough, and the hurt will be felt....certain resolutions must be made, especially against those things which most hinder us...Care must.. be taken that you are not slothful in common duties...Seek a proper time for yourself and think often upon the blessings of God. Leave aside mere curiousity. Read such matters as may sting your conscience [That's why I'm reading you, Brother Thomas!] rather than merely fill your time. If you will but withdraw will find sufficient and proper time for profitable meditiations..."

I have less time now, and I guard it jealously. I am more protective than ever of my evenings, I need Rich more than ever, and I spend most of my time at home doing housework, cooking and laundry. Always I am thinking ahead to the needs of my family, but I am also diligently trying to work hard at my illustration. While at school, I am always thinking about how I can best redeem the time I have there so as to get the most out of it. I am a pretty aggressive student about prosecuting my opportunities, I think.

Yet there have been a few times when I have filled my devotional times with other "urgent" matters: getting the crockpot ready to start, seeing to it that I get exercise on a fine day, or taking care of some matter that I know is important to Rich though not crucial. I could have gotten in to school a little later, but I went without my devotion. All of this seems to warn me that some things in my life may be inordinate.

I have tried to examine my reasons for doing as I do and as usual it comes down primarily to a lack of faith in the ability and willingness of God to provide for our future. But there is also wicked pride in me: I want to be known for something other than my ministry to my family. There are always two faces to everything, and that is what makes it so hard: it is so easy to decieve and excuse myself; indeed I am quick to assume that my motives are always sinful. But it is not evil to desire to put my abilities to work, and I would do what I do even if I could not get a regular job at it. I simply love what I'm doing. I believe that we are called to be diligent to do well whatever we put our hands to, as unto the Lord, and not unto men, so I do work hard. Am I though, working as unto the Lord, or for my own glory?

"Who can discern his sin? Forgive my hidden faults!" Psalm 19

It is not impossible that God should allow me to do something I love, even to be paid for it. But it has to be impossible that whatever I do should distract me from His purposes, from His glory, from whatever He has to say to me.

Oh God of grace, may Your disciplining hand always rest on me, and may I remember with peace and gratitude Elizabeth Elliot's words: "All God's refusals are mercies!"


Anonymous Angie said...

I wouldn't start second guessing your schedule just yet. Remember the Prov. 31 woman who had time to care for her family, help the poor, and do some wheeling and dealing in real estate. I guess the way she fit it all in was to get up really early (v.15) and stay up really late! (v. 18) Easier said than done, of course...

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Heidi said...

wow. Are we on the same page, or what? The challenge from Bible study last week, was to wake up in the morning, not filling our heads with all the things that need doing in the day, but looking to the Lord and thinking on Him and His ways.

huh. It's a habit I need to cultivate, for sure. Thinking on the Lord from the very beginning of the dawning day, and giving Him that hour or so of study, prayer and meditation, without letting the distractions interfere.

10:09 AM  

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