Time for another God post. I went away on retreat last weekend and felt all peaceful and inspired. But, now, regular life is back again and I’ve just about forgotten it all and settled back into my usual habit of ignoring God until I need him for something important (like a car space at Chadstone). So I thought I’d better write this down quick before it all falls out of my head.
We were talking about one of St Paul’s letters (1 Corinthians 12: 12-31) in which he writes about the church being like a body with many parts. Everyone has a different role to play and all the roles are important, no matter how humble.
I think I’ve spoken before about how I tend to struggle sometimes with the many invisible and menial tasks involved in my vocation. Pegging out a load of washing does not really make me feel like I’m building the Kingdom of God. It’s not like I’m a missionary in a developing country building wells or giving soup to the homeless or tutoring refugee kids. But according to St Paul, my job is still important. I think, as part of the Body of Christ, we mothers are a bit like the feet. Not the most glamourous feature and often taken for granted, the feet just keep plodding on, supporting the rest of the body and helping it do what it does so well. I think I’d find it easier to be a nice, loud mouth – shouting about my accomplishments and eating up all the recognition. But God doesn’t call us to do what is easy, he calls us to do what we need to be whole. So I’m a foot. I could even take the metaphor further and suggest that it’s important to take care of our feet and have the occasional pedicure, because corns and ingrown toenails affect the whole body. It’s easy to mistake playing the part of a martyr (which helps nobody, even though it comes with a bonus sense of smug self-satisfaction) with true selflessness (which is not too proud to ask for help). I’m not so good at this – I need to give myself permission to put my feet up more (OK, I’ll stop with the overworked metaphors now, I promise!)
“At the very heart of the gospel is sacrifice, and there is perhaps no occupation in the world so intrinsically sacrificial as motherhood. Motherhood is a wonderful opportunity to live the gospel. Jim Elliot famously said, “He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Motherhood provides you with an opportunity to lay down the things that you cannot keep on behalf of the people that you cannot lose. They are eternal souls, they are your children, they are your mission field.”
So perhaps, like Mother Teresa would say, instead of getting pre-occupied with the great things I am not doing, I should focus instead on doing small things with great love.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to peg out a load of whites for Jesus.