Monday, 14 May 2012

Our High Calling

Source for this image here .

Yesterday at Church we had such an interesting sermon.  The theme of our service was love - not our love for God, but His love for us, revealed through His son Christ Jesus - "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life". (John 3: 16).  That love should be, our pastor explained, what motivates all our behaviour.  As Christians, we too, as did Jesus, should witness to others through our behaviour.  Like Him, we should be patient, gentle, wise, truthful, helpful - and caring!  Our Pastor gave the examples of people whose lives involve showing love through caring and selflessness - nurses, firefighters, carers, teachers - and of course, mothers! And he said that these roles were in themselves a form of witness for Christian people - not everyone is called in the same way, but whatever our calling, that should be our witness to others, and we can use the natural skills and qualities that we have, to bless other people with the examples that Jesus gave when he walked the earth.  Everyone has character qualities that they can use to witness to others with - they do not necessarily need to be gifted with the skills of writing or speaking to groups.  Just by their everday actions, they can inspire others to seek to know our Saviour Lord Jesus.

I was very inspired to listen to this sermon as I felt that it linked in well with what I had talked about in Saturday's post about how our "meek and gentle spirit" (1 Peter 3: 4) should be our outward witness - showing the working of the Holy Spirit within us and blessing all those around us.  To show love is a natural extension of this.  The pastor went on to say that this is our way of "preaching the Gospel".  Unlike him we do not need to speak to witness - our behaviour speaks for us.  But equally importantly, he also talked about how the "beauty of holiness" can be experienced through our behaviour, and it got me thinking some more about this.

I was minded of some of the lovely, inspirational books I have read over the years by Christian authors such as Emilie Barnes, Ann Ortlund, Elizabeth George and Stormie Omartian.  In particular, Emilie Barnes writes much about the importance of creating a calm and pleasant environment as part of a woman's ministry to her family and friends.  I had never really thought too hard about this in terms of how this could be seen as a way of witnessing to others - I considered it more to be of importance in our role as God's servants - keepers of our homes - and how our work there is done in accordance with His will for us as married women.  But clearly it can be seen as a way of witnessing too.  I was quite excited to think of this, as I sat in Church yesterday!

Of course, writing here on the blog is a form of witnessing too.  By sharing our experiences and ideas we are witnessing to others who, we hope, may be inspired to apply some of our suggestions themselves - or to perhaps be motivated to make some changes they had already been thinking of in their own homes so that they too can bear witness of the brilliance of God's glory in their lives.  It made me feel greatly encouraged that the time I spend writing on the blog (and that Papa Bear spends checking it) and, more recently, our website (which is taking quite some time to get to grips with!) is actually time invested as part of my duties as a wife and mother.  Just in my everyday activities, working to create a pleasant and clean home, well organised and attractive, welcoming and peaceful, I can still work to be an inspiration to others.  I had never thought of my role as a Helpmeet in that way!  In fact if I am honest, I have leaned more towards thinking of anything else beyond keeping our home clean and functional - the extra "frills", that make it pretty, rather than just tidy - as an indulgence that isn't strictly necessary!  Now however, I see that creating a pretty home can also be an extension of the role of home keeper and Helpmeet that I am called to - and so I shall enjoy spending a little more time focussing on this!

I am not talking about spending money, or having everything co-ordinated and matching.  That is fine if you can afford it - but we can't (and even if we could, I know that Papa Bear would have other, more important things, to spend that money on) but about making the best of what we have - giving attention to the smaller details - and ensuring that wherever anyone goes in our home, there is something nice to look at.  Not opulence, but something uplifting, or calming, or just purely beautiful.  Of course everyone has different ideas about what is beautiful.  And ultimately, the things that are most beautiful of all, are those which are God's creation - the world around us, and the people in it.  Our Pastor spoke also of this, and of how those who are able to draw out the beauty of holiness, such as artists and writers, also have a gift for witness.  In God's creation, we see something of His nature -

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handywork.
Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath He set a tabernacle for the sun,
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof
" (Psalm 19: 1 - 6).

We do not need to speak to share the beauty of God's glory - but we do need to be conscious of our actions.  As a Christian wife and mother, it is my duty to serve God through my work at home - work which should speak for itself of His greatness.  What a wonderful privelige to have this role - my High Calling as a servant of God.

"The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed
" (Titus 2, 3 - 5).