An attempt to declare the Glory of God for what He has chosen to do with our lives. A legacy to leave to my children in the telling of it.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Widow's List

No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she ...
has been faithful to her husband,
and is well known for her good deeds,
such as bringing up children,
showing hospitality,
washing the feet of the Lord’s people,
helping those in trouble
and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.
1 Timothy 5:9

I have been playing a bit of Bible Bingo lately. With some busy schedules lately to goof up my lounging with a cup of coffee on the old recliner, plus having finished up my regular reading, I have just been quickly flipping through Scripture at random the past few mornings. I find myself mostly camped out near the end of the New Testament seeking out Paul's words and longing for some much needed encouragement and hope.

This verse in First Timothy has stuck with me, rolling through my brain and guiding my actions. After Trent's death the never ending question has been, "What do I do now?" Trying to balance what has to be done just to keep on living, with what has eternal purpose. The little bit of left over energy and emotion that remains after grief has ruled for the day needs to be channeled in the right direction lest the pity party claims it again. Battling to live truth as declared in Scripture sometimes goes no further than the brain, but there is a rumbling deep inside that refuses to be quieted lately and somehow the old energy is coming back to put some of it into motion. I still barely get a start before the tears come, threatening to paralyze me again. More days than not, though, lately I have been able to get past them quicker, or at least think I can get past them.

So then, what to do? What really matters? What does God say matters?

Richard Baxter, in The Saints' Everlasting Rest (Free book download here), admonishes the believer to set their minds more on Heaven and eternity, to believe as if it is reality, and therefor to live it out in our daily actions.

"O, that we would mind our inheritance and value it but half as it doth deserve! There is nothing else [greater than Heaven] that is worth setting our hearts on... I would not advise thee to make experiments (living our lives other than as if Heaven and God were reality) at such dear rates, as all those do that seek after happiness below, lest, when the substance is lost, thou find too late that thou didst catch but at a shadow; lest thou be like those men that will needs search out the philosopher's stone, though none could effect it that went before them; and so buy their experience with the loss of their own estates and time which they might have had at a cheaper rate, if they would have taken up with the experience of their predecessors. So I would wish thee not to disquiet thyself looking for that which is not on earth, lest thou learn by they experience with the loss of thy soul, which thou mightiest have learned by easier terms, even by the warnings of God in his Word, and loss of thousands of souls before thee.
Indeed, so far as duty and necessity requires it, we must be content to mind the things below; but who is he that contains himself within the compass of those limits?
 And yet if we bound our cares and thoughts as diligently as ever we can, we shall find the least to be bitter and burdensome, even as the least wasp hath a sting, and the smallest serpent hath his poison. . . . The like may I say of our earthly cares; it is their property to be hard and troublesome, and so they will be when they are the least. . . . We, the citizens and inhabitants of heaven, are bound by solemn and frequent covenants, not to have our hearts enticed or entangled with any foreign honours or delights, but only with those of our own country. If thy thoughts should, like the laborious bee, go over the world from flower to flower, from creature to creature, they would bring thee no honey or sweetness home, save what they gathered from their relations to eternity. . . ."

Along with those thoughts I look at Paul's list again:

  . . . faithful to her husband and well known for her good deeds,
such as bringing up children,
showing hospitality,
washing the feet of the Lord’s people,
helping those in trouble
and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

And then I look at my life from the perspective of eternity. I look at all the possessions that I am hoarding and striving for here and see how their value pales in light of what matters to God. I look around at my junque, and consider that knowing Christ is of greater value than the treasures of this world. I see all the material stuff that I will have to give account for one day, and then seek out ways to make them glorify God. I remind myself to invest in what truly matters: souls.

There is the overlooked simplicity of being a faithful wife; faithful with my mouth and words, faithful with my thoughts and prayers, faithful to build my husband up to be who God is making him to be.

Good deeds, often times the simple things like being the one to get up and let the dog in. Will that be glorifying in the presence of the King, to battle the selfishness in my own heart that would rather refuse to rise in order to give my family comfort?

Bringing up godly children, showing them a broken vessel who is desperate for God. Living out absolute dependence on a Savior who said He loves and redeems the vilest offender. Pointing them to what matters: not this temporary world, or indulging in what it offers, but where our souls are with our Creator.

Hospitality, even if it means an impromptu meal of hot dogs and baked beans served in the old pot on mismatched plates while sitting around the scratched dining room table talking about what really matters.

Washing the feet of the Lord's people. My heart has a long way to go on this one. What humbleness that is still so far out of my reach to stoop that far. To forgive and love like Christ did. To draw that near to other sinners who have offended my shallow feelings and not edified my ego.

To help those in trouble. So often I don't see beyond my own front door to even see them. So often I am consumed here at home, where I should be for this time, that I don't even know that there is trouble. Could I not stretch myself a bit more to see it, though? To put myself where I can see it? A hug is so simple, an email, a card, and a heartfelt prayer means so much to those in trouble and is such a simple offering.

Devoting myself to all kinds of good deeds, good God deeds through His power. Balancing what is my strength and what is God's strength, God's callings or my ideas, has been rumbling around my thoughts lately. How many things do I futilely do on my own instead of listening for God's clear voice? How many plates do I attempt to spin until God knocks them all off so I will finally look to Him alone and live out what He is asking and what glorifies Him? What in my life will matter for eternity? What will be on my widow's list?


Dicky Bird said...

Being a good steward with what He has given me - my talents and gifts. Lord help us each to balance them.

Camille said...

Beautiful post, Terri. Thank you! I especially liked this ~ "There is the overlooked simplicity of being a faithful wife; faithful with my mouth and words, faithful with my thoughts and prayers, faithful to build my husband up to be who God is making him to be." How important it is to weigh everything up against God's Word and His standard. Thank you for this reminder.

I am taking a little blogging break until after Christmas and I just wanted to stop by and wish you a peace-filled celebration of our Saviour's first coming. May He daily meet you in your need of Him. Moment by moment....He is Faithful.

Thank you for sweetly blessing my heart and for reaching out to be a friend.

With Love,

OurCrazyFarm said...

Thanks for the sweet comment, Camille, and letting me know about your break. Life gets so busy. You are often in my prayers as well. It has been a pleasure to "meet" you!