My husband and I both had last week off of work. For a big part of the week we stayed home and cleaned closets and rooms and blinds and cupboards.
Day two of cleaning I vacuumed the rug in the living room, rolled it up and took it downstairs to store. I moved all the furniture, swept and washed the hardwood floors. As I put the furniture back I marveled at how beautiful the living room was.
In fact, I thought "if only my husband and I weren't so busy, we could have this all the time."
All those pesky commitments we have keep us from this beautiful and perfect living room.
You see, at my stage of life choices must be made. I've chosen to pick fresh fruit when in season, to spend hours and days cleaning and freezing or canning it for my family, both to save money and have healthy food on hand.
My husband and I have chosen to not just mow my mother-in-law's lawn, but to make a point to stay afterwards and have a meal with her, a meal I usually prepare ahead of time.
I choose to lead a Bible study, to scrapbook for my children, to run with my teen daughter when she wants to run, or sit with her and watch a show when she wants to watch a show so I can monitor what is going in her mind and her reaction to it.
All of those choices take time and they take precious time away from cleaning, and for a little bit of time I thought, what if I kept my time?
Fast forward to Sunday. It's one of the last opportunities to hear a seminar by our pastors on studying the Bible and my pastor explained Luther's four strands; which amounts to four questions you should ask while reading scripture, four strands I'd heard before. But the text he chose months ago while preparing the seminar was the account of Mary and Martha. Martha was distracted and worried about the meal and Mary, she just kept sitting at Jesus' feet, blissfully unaware of the work that had to be done.
My pastor could never have known which seminar I'd go to, or what temptations I'd face days prior to going, or if I'd go at all.
As I sat there two things became ever so clear. God is intimately involved in our lives. He knows our secret thoughts and as we're in the Word He gently reminds and nudges us. And number two: Everyone who works in the kingdom gives up something. You give up time with your family, or the promotion that would take you away from your loved ones, a hobby, or a clean house, or the shows you'd love to watch, the books you'd love to read, or something.
So here's a high five to all of you working hard for the Lord, preparing Bible studies or Sunday school lessons week after week, or going to choir practice, or helping with a meal for someone who can't make the meal him/herself. Yes, it is time consuming, and yes, you are giving up something else, but God sees you. He knows the cost and the reward is coming.
And in case you were wondering...the living room is already a mess, and the jars of raspberry jam are still warm.