Sunday, June 29, 2008

Servant's heart, part 2

I would encourage you to read Romans 12 in connection with this post. I was going to quote the first 13 verses, but felt it was too long for this blog post. But please read it to get the whole context of what I am quoting. Also, when I try to give the sense of what different words and passages mean, I am in NO WAY trying to offer a different "translation" of the Scriptures. Most of this information comes from Strongs and Thayer via a handy little tool called E-Sword. I love it. Bible study has been taken to a whole new level since Tom installed this on my computer.

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

The Greek word translated service means worship. We are to offer our whole selves up as a sacrifice in worship to the Lord.

Rom 12:4-6 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us...

We each have a different gift of service (worship) to offer to the Lord. The following verses describe some of those gifts, including this one:

Rom 12:7 ...or ministry, let us wait on our ministering...

The Greek word translated ministry/ministering (same word) is also translated ministration in Acts 6:1 (the account of why deacons were chosen), minister in Hebrews 1:14 (about angels ministering to the saints), relief in Acts 11:29 (aide sent to help the suffering saints in Judea) and serving in Luke 10:40 (the famous "Mary and Martha" passage)

It is a word used to describe the work of meeting both the physical and spiritual needs of others, and stems from the noun form which means servant.

Rom 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation....

Literally, let your benevolence be without hypocrisy. The word for love is agape, the ultimate giving kind of love.

Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another...

Literally, cherish one another as you would members of your own families with brotherly kindness; showing that you highly value one another.

Rom 12:13 Distributing1 to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

This verse is self-explanatory, but I found the word given interesting. The Greek means to chase after, or pursue, like someone running toward a goal. The goal in this case is loving and entertaining strangers.

So here is a whole passage dedicated to teaching us that we are not alike in the way we worship and serve Christ. We all have different gifts enabling us to worship and serve Christ in different ways. And the act of meeting the physical needs of others, both Christians and strangers (and Christ Himself while He was on this earth) is just as much a legitimate act of worship as any other.

So what was the difference between Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42? Not so much in what they did, but in their attitudes. Both were engaging in legitimate acts. But Martha did not have a legitimate attitude.

A severe thunderstorm is rolling in, so I am going to have to finish this later. I promise to finish this thought before I take my summer blog break. :)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Family picture

Forgive our facial expressions. We are squinting into the sun.

I've not been able to finish the post I promised for this week. Will try for tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Thanks for your prayers

I want to thank everyone who has been praying for me. Thanks especially to my friend and sister in Christ, Lucie, for praying for my back. Please don't stop! My back has been doing great. My mental distress continues somewhat, but I think that will ease off in the months to come. Tom and I have talked about how busy I have been lately. We are in the process of changing some things around here so that I am not away from home so much, that we aren't running to town so much, and that the children take on more responsibility.

I am going to finish what I started about the servant's heart (Mary and Martha) later this week. After that I am going to take my cue from my daughter and take a blogging break for the summer. Meanwhile, we have our own Bible conference coming up July 30-August 3. Tom and I also hope to take the whole family (Nate, too!) to Maranatha Bible Conference (in Pennsylvania) in August (please pray that God will work out the details for this).

We are also building a small barn, Sarah is starting a babysitting job AND a meat rabbit business AND getting goats in the fall, I'm getting a Jersey cow, and there's all the gardening to do. We need to clean out our cellar and build a cold room down there, to use as a root cellar. We have a whole bunch of junk to haul away to the dump, and scrap metal to sell to the scrap yard. Our neighbour gave Elijah a trailer that Tom wants to fix up and get tags for, so that we can use it for hauling stuff. Stuff like several loads of hay, if the rain will stop long enough for the farmers to cut it!

AND, we're getting a new roof put on! We are getting a grant for this, so we had to submit two bids for the job. The inspector who approved our grant decides who gets the job. Pray that our friends Jon U. and Michel C. get the job. They are just getting started in their new construction contracting business, and we want to help them out. Plus we know them, and know that they will do a great job.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

In a foggy place

My mind has been in a fog for about a couple of months. I have been forgetting things a lot, and am not able to think clearly. I will ask a child to do something, and right away forget that I asked that, and ask the same child to do something else. I will start to say something, and suddenly I can't think what it was I wanted to say. I told Sarah she could go home with a friend after church one Sunday night, then later I wondered where she was. I could not recall giving her permission, even though they tried to help me remember by telling me the circumstances and what we talked about.

Tom says I've not been getting enough sleep. I don't know. I go to bed no later than ten, and lately I think I've been sleeping pretty well. Samuel has been sleeping all night, anywhere from 8 to 11 hours. During the day I lie down with him when he needs nursed, and sometimes doze off. I did go through about a week or so of not being able to sleep, no matter how hard I tried. But that hasn't been the case lately.

It is hard for me to stay focused. If I am interrupted while writing, I have to read the whole paragraph, sometimes the whole blog post over again to try to remember what I was writing. Sometimes I totally lose my thought and end up deleting the half sentence I just wrote because I have no idea what I was trying to say. That is why I haven't been blogging lately.

I have not gotten the garden finished yet. I just can't keep my mind on it. I go out to do some planting, and find I can't think what I am supposed to do. Same for a lot of other chores, like laundry or sewing or cleaning.

I've got my children worried. Last night Elijah asked if Alzheimer's runs in the family. And Sarah remembered reading about a woman who began to be easily confused, especially about where she was, when she was younger than I am. I am 42.

I don't know what the problem is, but I ask you to pray for me. I don't think I have anything major on my conscience. Fellowship with the Lord has been sweet lately. I do think I am too busy. I am gone from home a lot, but haven't been able to help it. It's all been necessary, mostly related either to ministry or shopping I absolutely had to do. I did mark on my calendar all the days I want to STAY HOME for the rest of this month.

Monday, June 02, 2008

How to have a servant's heart, part 1

"The aged women likewise, that they be in behavioiur as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." --Titus 2:3-5

"Let not a widow be taken into the number under three-score years old, having been the wife of one man, well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. ... I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully." --1 Timothy 5:9-10, 14

"Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did." --Acts 9:36

"I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: that ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also." --Romans 16:1-2

"Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles." --Romans 16:3-4

"Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." --Luke 10:38-42

"There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment." --John 12:2-3

For years I have had the impression, and heard it preached, that we should be Marys and not Marthas. That you can't be both. That Mary chose the better part, and so should we. That we should be in the presence of the Lord all the time, and not be serving. That Martha did not learn her lesson the first time, that she didn't grow, that she's still stuck in the serving mode the second time a year later.

If all that is true, then what do we do with the other verses in the New Testament, the ones that clearly teach that we must work and serve? What about all those women who worked and served, and were commended for their working and serving?

All this time I've thought that the difference between Mary and Martha was in what they did. I now believe the difference lay in the attitude of the heart. We all have different gifts and abilities. I believe Martha's gift was serving. She just needed to adjust her attitude about it.

There is a major difference between Martha's first service in Luke and her second service in John. More on that next.