Friday, November 16, 2012

A Place for Everything

I tend to be an organizer.  Don't misunderstand me.  I'm not always organized; my house is not always clean.  But when I do get to cleaning, I tend to have a specific place for each item.  For instance, I can't stand having one big toy box for my kids.  Instead, I have a drawer system.  Barbies go in a drawer, Barbie accessories go in another drawer, etc.  I like to compartmentalize my time too.  If I don't have a plan for the day, with a task in each half-hour segment, I will likely not get much done.  Life seems so much neater with "a place for everything and everything in its place."

Unfortunately, I've noticed I have a tendency to do the same with my faith.  Now, I don't mean that I go to church on Sunday and forget about my Savior the rest of the week.  I have been there in the past; but I have grown past that level of segregating my faith from my daily life.  But I still have trouble being saturated in my faith at all times and in all places.  There are three areas in my life that I particularly need to evaluate as places where my faith can be more evident.

The first area is in my home.  My husband and I both lean toward being introverts (well, I lean toward it; he would be a full out hermit if he could), so we tend to see our home as a sanctuary, a place that belongs to us and where we can shut out the world.  As I read my Bible, I don't see women of faith doing that.  The Shunammite woman first urged Elisha to eat at her home.  Then, when she realized that he was "a holy man of God" (2 Kings 4:9), she persuaded her husband that they should add a room onto their house just for Elisha to stay in when he was in town.  Far from seeing her home as her own sanctuary, she created a place to be someone else's retreat!

The Shunammite woman was wealthy, and we can't all afford to build onto our houses.  It's a good thing, then that we have the example of early church to follow as well.  We find in Acts 2:46 that the infant church was "day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart."  The early church met both in the temple and in each others' homes, and this was more than just once a week for a small group meeting.  We know that Paul, when he was released from prison, went to the home of Lydia, and the brethren were all there (Acts 16:40).  Priscilla, with her husband Aquila, also had the local church meeting in their home (1 Corinthians 16:19).  This is a far cry from my typical thinking: "I'll invite someone over for a meal if I have a week's notice to clean the house, no more than once a month, because it will take me that long to recover." Whose house is it anyway?  If I believe that "from everyone who has been given much, much will be required" (Luke 12:48), then I must also believe that I should use "my" home in His service as much as possible.

The same principle can apply to money.  Don't get me wrong, we contribute with every paycheck.  Sometimes that is the problem.  We see giving as an item to be checked off our list.  We budget for it, give the check, and move on.  None of this is bad, but I tend to stop there.  "Okay, I've given.  Now I can budget the rest of our money to the dollar."  What happens if I see a need for giving extra?  Often I'm not even looking for those opportunities because I've already checked off my "giving" box.  Again, the Bible shows us a better way.  The widow whom Jesus praised for giving all she had certainly didn't view giving as a checkbox.  For her, it was a part of her life, so much so that she would give all she had.  In my own life, I need to be more willing to look for opportunities to give and to allow a little flexibility in budgeting to facilitate giving.

Flexibility is always something I've had trouble with, especially in scheduling.  I do schedule daily time for teaching my children the Bible. We have some time after my daughter gets home from school, and we also have family Bible time before the kids go to bed.  Again, these are good things, but I can't let that be enough.  Deuteronomy 6:6-8 gives us an idea of how we should be teaching our children. "These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on  your  gates."  Teaching my children the Bible should be a way of life, something I do as naturally as walking.  Having specific times to teach them the Bible is good, but I need to be teaching at all times and in all ways.  Thankfully, my very curious son helps to make it easier.  "Mommy, tell me about David and Goliath again."  So I do, even if it isn't 3:30.

A place for everything and everything in its place.  It's a maxim that works wonderfully for organizing your clothes, your pots and pans, and your craft supplies.  But the place for faith should be in every nook and cranny of my life.  My home, my pocketbook, the lives of my children, all should be saturated in service and thankfulness.  What about you?  Are there areas in your life that could use more blanketing in faith?  Tell us about it!

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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