Monday, September 6, 2010
Mindful Monday: Give of your all
"I will spend myself to the last ebb or you; you may give me praise or give me blame, it will make no difference. When we realize that Jesus Christ has served us to the end of our meanness, our selfishness, and sin, nothing that we meet with from others can exhaust our determination to serve men for His sake. " [Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest]
"We have been programmed to believe that love is something to be pursued for our own benefit. We're always 'looking for love'. But real love--biblical love--is sacrifice. It's the denial of self for the good of another." [Stacy McDonald, http://yoursacredcalling.com]
I've been thinking over these quotes in relationship to our children and spouse. Couples especially tend to get in a cycle of "I'll do for you when you do for me," or "Do unto my spouse as he does for me." So, when one person is not particular giving or on track, the other spouse feels justified in being selfish. "What has he done for me," she asks.
I have such a giving spouse, and we honestly try to give to each other selflessly and put each other first. This did not come naturally, and we had years of the old nasty self-serving cycle before we finally saw God's desire for marital unity and service. It does come more naturally now, but we still have our moments. I am so grateful to have been blessed with a husband who seeks to serve me and bring me joy without keeping track of all his good deeds and all my flaws. I am grateful that he never says, "Look at what all I've done for you! You owe me!" (And, hey, God doesn't do that either!) My husband is truly willing to spend and be spent for his family, and I know I owe my thanks for God for the work he has done in my spouse's life.
As mothers, we also need to have this attitude towards our children. As a homeschooling homemaker, there are times when I am utterly exhausted. I sometimes think of Jesus who would go away to seek quiet time and yet be followed by a huge crowd... and he never turned them away. That realization pricks me, because I know I selfishly turn my children away because I "need" quiet time or "have had enough".
We can certainly give a lot of ourselves and feel pretty good about that, but are we giving "to the last ebb"? Are we giving of ourselves for praise and back-patting from others, or are we giving out of Christ's love, even when no one else seems to notice or care, even when it seems thankless, even when it is received with little appreciation? Do we only give to those who seem "worthy" of it, or do we serve even those who don't? I think of Christ serving all of those who rejected him, even serving Judas, even though he knew Judas would betray him.
"The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life a ransom for many."
If Jesus, why not us as well?