"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."
I thought I'd share it here as well:
Today we are learning to think about what is pure. I like this word in particular because it resonates with my role as a young woman in Titus 2:4-5:
“… train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, to be subject to their husbands…”
When I hear the word “pure” I usually think of it in a sexual context, but the word also means modest, pure from every fault, clean. In looking at the uses in scripture, being pure can include our words, what we look at, how we act, where our hearts are, among other things. I’d like to share a story that shows how this is applicable to me right now, today.
My husband and I were blessed to have gone on a cruise a few weeks ago with another couple, and one night at dinner, I had somehow lost my fork and was nibbling on my salad absent-mindedly with my fingers. Our Russian waiter, Dimitry, noticed and quietly slipped a knife and fork on either side of my plate from behind. I was so touched by this act of service – that of all the tables he was serving that night, he noticed my need, and met it quietly and without expecting anything in return – that a lump quickly grew in my throat and without thinking I whispered, “Will you come back with me?”
When he leaned forward in his thick accent and said, “What exactly did you have in mind?” you can imagine how red my face turned! Everyone at the table got a great laugh at my expense, especially my husband who of course knew I meant that I wanted a waiter to serve me at home, but he thought the whole thing was very entertaining.
I share that story to tell you where I was. I’m a homeschooling mom of four little children, I have a part time photography business, and I gladly support my very-entrepreneurial husband in whatever venture he’s in. Just before we went on our trip, I was very tired and weary of serving others. The word “mom” was more of an annoyance than a blessing. When my husband would call and ask me to do something for him while I was teaching the kids, I would get a grimace on my face because my day was interrupted. Household chores were a monotony, and I couldn’t seem to get enough alone time. My time with God was always cut short by a child who had to tell me all about his dream or a baby who decided to wake up early. I have an amazing husband and children, but I had lost sight of this and was growing more and more annoyed with everything.
And in what way was I dealing with it? I escaped whenever I could. No, I didn’t leave the house or join a club or watch a soap opera or read a romance novel. I would sit in my big, comfy, leather computer chair and do all sorts of “good things.” My time was filled up with email, message boards, online shopping, researching items to buy, online news stories, yahoo groups, facebook, managing my bank accounts, school planning, looking up library books, and digital scrapbooking, to name a few.
And I ask you: Are any of these items “Impure?” Not in the way we typically look at them. But I’ll get back to that.
All this led up to that one act of service by a waiter that left me secretly in tears later that night as I pondered it. Oh, how lovely it was to be served! Oh, how I longed to have someone serve me like that all the time! I started slipping into a pity party of “I serve people all day long, I deserve…” and then it hit me… I deserve death.
Really, apart from Jesus, I deserve death. But because of His great love for me, I am called God’s child. Because Jesus gave up His rights to be served, I have been forgiven. Because He loved me so much to die for me, I can have eternal life. And as His follower, He instructs me to serve, not to be served.
I came home from the cruise with a renewed desire to serve others out of the love Jesus has shown me. I want others to feel that sense of joy when their needs are met that I felt that night. I want to pour out God’s love on others in such a way that they see Jesus through me.
And you might ask what this has to do with all that time I spent in front of my computer? I’m now praying that God would remove my longing to escape from the tasks that I previously found mundane, and instead fill me with His Spirit, which would give me joy for whatever He’s asking me to do that moment. He made His will abundantly clear when I was able to catch up on everything I’d missed on the computer from a week on the cruise in a matter of 20 minutes… from my phone. I had to repent of all that wasted time!
I want to live a pure life – free from distraction and junk – so I have pure eyes to see people the way He does, pure hands to love others, pure lips to speak on His behalf, and pure feet to go wherever He wants me to go.
I have a long way to go, but I praise God that I’m seeing progress. I’m remarkably finding joy again in playing cards with the kids, chatting with them while folding laundry, and just sitting on the floor rolling a ball to my baby. I know that He who began this good work in me will be faithful to complete it until the day of our precious Lord Jesus. And I know He will do the same for you.