I had my Saturday planned. I got up before everyone else and did my morning devotions, got dressed for the day, and was in the kitchen, deep-cleaning it (by the way, deep-cleaning the kitchen takes a few hours). Satisfied that I had done my “family time” project, my brain was going to my list—which was a simpler list than weekdays: practice piano (with hopes to maybe be ready to record the last song for “Reflections of the Cross”), record a simple piano piece, read more of my Sherman book (for research), and schedule three blog posts. However, I was a good child. Before going upstairs (where I forget to come down for a few hours, and the family tends to forget I’m home), I hopped over to Mom and asked, “Is there anything I need to do before disappearing?” She looked up from the dozen Par la Grace signs that surrounded her and casually said, “You wouldn’t feel like making some jelly, would you? I bought sugar for it but I won’t be able to get to that today.” (and likely not the week following, seeing as she was busy helping Jessica prep for a huge market the following Saturday)
Flee all “good child” images. My insides turned into a boiling, self-centered brat with, “But-I-want-to-do-my-things!” Of course, I wouldn’t show that to my mom (not like she couldn’t see my resistance anyway). But it was still there. I think I gave her a “maybe, I’ll see what I can shift around with my schedule” type answer. But on the inside, I was very, extremely, completely unwilling to do jellies—because I knew that “doing jellies” meant all afternoon was now in the kitchen (which, I don’t mind—unless my mind is already darting to the non-kitchen projects I want to do).
I knew better than to try to start jelly-making with that attitude, so I went upstairs, with that “maybe” settled in my mind. A “sure, Mom, I’d be happy to” was not on my brain. As soon as I sat down at my desk, a text came in. I opened it casually and read, “Is it possible that we make an idol of our time?” WHAM! My friend continued, sharing with me her struggle of the day…she had absolutely no clue how perfect that text was timed for me (until, of course, I responded, “Ouch. You would send that question just a few minutes after Mom asked me to make jelly…”). It hurt, but it was exactly what I needed to jar my focus away from myself and into serving others.
Now, to say that I immediately repented, skipped downstairs, and made jellies with a smile and song would be a little far from the truth. It still took me a few minutes to pray, adjust my attitude, and pray for grace to be willing to serve before I emerged downstairs again.
Sure enough, about five hours of my afternoon was spent with making strawberry jam, pear butter, apple jelly, and plum jelly. With rows of sealed jars now on the counter, I was free to go upstairs and spend the last two hours of my day doing my to-do list. Here is where I feel completely undeserving of God’s goodness. Not only did everything go smoothly, but that last song for “Reflections” was recorded and I had time to finish the fiction book I had been working on for almost two weeks. As my friend put it (the one who sent me the jarring text earlier): “Wow! And you were even able to check two big things off your list today!”
Days like that do not always happen. I do not always have a friend who sends me a timely text…I do not always feel instantly rewarded by a productive project time crammed into two hours. But Saturday, I did.
Why do I share this? Because it hit home for me. I need the reminder. Life isn’t all about me and my projects. It’s about serving God and glorifying Him. Sometimes serving Him means publishing a book or arranging a hymn…but sometimes, serving Him means to lay aside those things so that I can be a blessing to my family in small areas that the world will never see.
What lesson has God been teaching you lately?
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily,
as to the Lord, and not unto men;
Knowing that of the Lord ye shall
receive the reward of the inheritance:
for ye serve the Lord Christ.