Friday, September 30, 2011

I serve two masters


Mom you make my life special.  Your life is crowded with 2 kids and 1 baby and 1 pet and 1 Dad.  You might have no time to play but you love me every day.  I love you how you cook dinner and coach our church.  But you love me below and above.  I need you brush my hair.  Your husband loves you too!
Thank you for all you do!
I love you Mom.”
I got three things I really needed this morning: a cup of coffee, a nice chat with my husband, and this note from my 7 year old.  It fell out of the desk drawer, just when I needed it.  As you can see, my kids don’t sugarcoat things for me.  They know my life is “crowded.”  They probably know better than anyone that I’m pulled in more than one direction and have to constantly make compromises between what I want to be doing and what I need to be doing.  Let’s face it, everything else aside, I’d pull them out of school every single day to follow some flight of fancy and adventure.  They might never learn to read and we might have to subsist on grass and berries, but it would sure be great to spend carefree hours together, discovering every beauty the world has to offer.
Scripture says we can’t serve two masters, because we will love the one and hate the other.  Of course, this is referring to God and money.  Sometimes I struggle with the ways that truth applies to my life, though.  I’m called, at a minimum, to serve at least three: my family, the church, and the Lord.  Making it even more complicated, I’m actually getting paid to serve the church, so perhaps the church should count as two – God and money?  But I already made a distinction between serving God and serving the church.  I guess because they sometimes seem like two different masters, as well, when the challenges and expectations of church life come into tension with my ability to devote myself singly to God.
Most of the time, I find ways to keep my masters happy.  Even if I don’t have time to play, I still manage to cook some meals, brush some hair, and “coach the church.”  Other times, I find one master or another to be exceptionally demanding, and I end up having to make things up to the others later.  I had a demanding master this week, she hardly napped during the day; she insisted on eating twice every night; she refused to enjoy her Jump-a-roo when I needed to prep lessons and make meals.  A string of sleep longer than 3 hours would be an incredibly welcome luxury right now.
But my husband got the kids ready for school every morning this week and kept the baby happy so I could teach the kids and youth on Wednesday.  The big girls pitched in when I needed someone to grab me a diaper or empty the dishwasher; they were well-mannered at the doctor’s office, and didn’t complain when I made zucchini.  And neither God nor the church stuck me down for being sleep deprived and scatterbrained at work this week.  Even the teenagers, as usual, were good natured and accommodating.  Who doesn’t love masters like mine?
My daughter’s note this morning brought all those moments together for me.  It was a welcome reminder that, even though I’m struggling to keep up with my many masters, my most important calling is still being accomplished: my kids know I love them “below and above.”  And hopefully my other masters are getting that message now and again, too?
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13

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