Last month, I began attending Bible Study Fellowship, which is an international organization that's been around forever, where groups gather together once a week for worship and a pretty intense bible study. BSF studies one book of the bible per year; this year is Isaiah, and we're study it verse by verse. I've never studied the bible quite this thoroughly, and I'm really enjoying how much I'm learning.
Interestingly enough, my favorite part of the entire program is the children's classes - which Jack attends although Lucy misses out because she's in MMO on Wednesdays. In these children's classes, the sweet little babies/toddlers/young kids, learn the same message as their mom's are learning that week. Their nursery teachers sing them hymns, and pray, individually with each child each week. A scripture verse is even taught to them. Not that they memorize it, of course, at such a young age, but the idea is that a child is never too young to hear God's word. I love it! And when our new baby comes I can even transition to the "nursing mother's" group so I can keep attending despite my new position as milk supplier - or as I refer to it, the new "cow" of the family.
Today were were looking at the beginning verses of Isaiah, chapter 6, where Isaiah saw the Lord in a vision while he was in the temple. When presented with this amazing scene - seraphims flying around the Lord, whose robe was flowing through the temple, voices shaking the building, smoke filling the room - Isaiah realized and confessed that he was a sinful man. Basically, when face to face with God's glory, he did what I think many of us would do - realize we are ruined, sinful people, if not for the Lord's grace and mercy.
But the point I want to make, and question I am now wrestling with comes from what happens next...After Isaiah confesses his wretchedness, one of the seraphim touched a hot coal to his lips, and with God's grace, removed his guilt and forgave his sins. The Lord then asked "Who shall I send as a messenger" (to speak the message to the wicked people of Judah.)
Isaiah immediately responded, "Here I am. Send me."
He didn't ask what the job would entail; he didn't ask for how long he'd be serving the Lord; didn't try to determine if he'd enjoy it or not; (I like how Melissa put this) didn't reply that this wasn't his "gift-set"...
Isaiah just volunteered, Send Me!
It made me think of my friend that serves for hours each week at the Care Center Food Pantry; another friend whose career is working to do good through the Care Center; my friend who is a mom of three and volunteers to get the children's craft supplies ready for Kids Cove; a neighbor who recently passed away who spend hours making quilts for sick people in the hospital, and I could go on and on. People who just Go! Serve! Whether it's fun or not, convenient enough, whatever...
Obedient service is the response to God's grace; it's not what we do to earn God's grace. So, here's my train of thought. Last year I voulnteered in a 4th grade classroom each week as a reading tutor. When the school year began this year, I decided to not tutor this year because of the difficult pregnancy I was having. And after two years serving as a Storyteller in Kids Cove at church, I also decided to take the year off from this service.
And so, now I'm trying to figure out if this makes me disobedient in God's eyes...??? On one hand, I can say, there's nothing physically making me unable to serve in these capacities - it's just not ideal for me, not pleasant for me while pregnant. And that sure doesn't seem like a good enough reason when we study and think about what people went through to serve God and spread His Word.
I can't escape the word, "sacrificial" that keeps coming to my mind. We should give to God sacrificially, serve Him sacrificially, "love God and love others" sacrificially...
I think of my mom, who after my recent struggle with anxiety and depression, agreed to postpone her schooling next semester so she can, among other things, come to Huntsville often, stay with us and help with the new baby, Lucy and Jack, and provide love and support for me - this pretty scared mom of (will be) "3"... Going back to school to earn her degree is so very important to her right now, so it's certainly sacrificial what she'll be doing for me...
But back to the question..."How obedient is obedient enough?" Not that as Christians, we are aiming to do just enough, but I mean, how obedient do we need to be to be pleasing to God?
Do I need to waddle myself straight back into the classroom, or down to the Food Pantry, despite my being pregnant?
During the sermon today at BSF, I wrote down this questione: "What is God asking me to do?"
Is it that right now, God is asking me to grow this new baby, continue to raise Lucy and Jack, provide for my family as "mom" and "wife."? Is that being obedient enough?
What am I sacrificing right now, so that I may serve God better? ...
It's a tough thing to think about; is it tough because it makes me consider I'm not doing enough? Or is it just "tough" in of itself, because it requires sacrifice?
Ugh! Do you see how my head is spinning?
Well, if you have any thoughts you'd like to share on this idea, please do!