To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; - Eph 3:8-9 NKJV
To me, Paul says. Grace was given to me. Grace that led to prison, to isolation, to a life of hardships and rejection from his own. Paul considers it a gift of grace to be chosen for this dirty work, this preaching of an open invitation to the 'least of the least'.
And he considers himself less than the least? The pharisee of pharisees. He puts himself lower than those who remained, by law, in the outer courts, the court of the Gentiles. A servant always lowers himself. But to call it a grace, a gift?
I was given grace, too. Do I risk anything to share the unsearchable riches of Christ, to make all see the Fellowship of the Mystery? Do I consider it a gift of grace to do the hard things day in and day out - bringing a sacrifice of praise through all the mundane and extraordinary and beautiful messes of each day?
What do my children know of this mystery? Because the riches are unsearchable, does that mean we are without searching? Without wonder? When everything is explained, mystery becomes just science, just facts, just ho-hum-everyday-life.
There should be awe in everyday.
"Earth's crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes," ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning
We visit the science museum on a Thursday, surprised to see what we didn't really expect. Bodies. Human bodies. Is there awe in that? Oh boy. Amazing handiwork. Created, every part of it, for a purpose. And while it is a little overwhelming, and can-we-just-rush-through-mom?, and we turn a little red a few times, the place was crammed with heaven. Can you view all that and really believe in coincidence, or accident?
We could walk away disgusted or disturbed. Or we can take off our shoes and explore the holy ground, explore the wonder and mystery. God is amazing. Did you see it? Did you see how He made everything fit so perfectly?
Life can be mundane. I can go days, weeks, without seeing wonder or being amazed. Feeling unimportant, unnoticed, unnecessary. My days can be:
- drag out of bed
- read Bible
- make meals
- clean-up meals
Somewhere in between, I throw in a load of laundry and force some school along. Check. When is bedtime, so we can start all over tomorrow?
Round and round life goes, and if I don't deliberately choose to see, I just trample over holy ground. I trample over holy people.
This is what I'm thinking about when the dentist asks me, "So what do you do for a living?". This is generally that question that causes me to fumble over my tongue. What do I do?
What do I do? For a 'living', I die daily. I would like to respond that way - like for it to be true.
"I teach my four children at home," I say.
Wow. No fumbling this time. No apologies, no feeling-less-than-important. People are always amazed (or concerned)... but this time, so am I.
To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among my children the unsearchable riches of Christ,
Everyday. Searching for the treasures, looking for the pearls hidden in the Word and in His world. Hidden in the hearts of others. Praying big prayers in front of and with my children, because a big God can answer and we can be amazed.
From Leigh Bortins, Echo in Celebration, pg. 3 ~
I feel compelled to "ride horses up the White House stairs" as Teddy Roosevelt did with his children, and I want to share with them the deep sorrow rather than the self-righteousness that comes from the ugliness of sin. I want them to work so hard and to have fun so physical that they can't wait to climb into bed. I want them to know that everyone they encounter can be their teacher and that they are to inspire each person they meet to draw a little closer to our Father in heaven. Life is but a vapor, but it's also a divine journey - a journey that can result in unspeakable joy and heart-satisfying peace that passes all understanding.
I love that quote, and I want to live like that. I want my words to be less lecture, more wonder. Less why-did-you-do-that, and more did-you-see-that?
If I only speak a hundred words to my children today, Lord, let them be all grace, all wonder, all magnifying the riches of Christ and buckle-your-seat-belt adventure.