My Bible is not the only one that I have ever owned. It is, however, my favorite of all the ones I have ever opened. It is the Life Application Study Bible, New International Version. I've been trying to get back into the habit of reading daily, and though I haven't quite been able to read that often, I've been reading. Today I finished a chapter I was reading a few days ago in Judges and had a few minutes more so I kept going.
One of the reasons I love this Bible is because of the footnotes. Sometimes it is hard to find ways to apply the old testament to today's world where sacrificing animals and things like that are seriously frowned upon, so I love that my Bible has tons of little notes in it that help me to better understand the customs of those early days while still helping me to figure out what those well-aged verses should possibly mean to me. Sometimes there are even multiple notes for one verse! The note for Judges 10:1-5 says, "In five verses we read about two men who judged Israel for a total of 45 years but all we know about them besides the length of their rules is that one had 30 sons who rode around on 30 donkeys. What are you doing for God that is worth noting? When your life is over, will people remember more than just what was in your bank account or the number of years you lived?"
Wow. Five verses that covered two men. Some men in the Bible warranted entire books devoted to them and the way they followed God, but these two together got five verses and only one was really talked about. Even then, the verses about him only expressed information about this mans prosperity, his vitality. He was strong and virile enough to father 30 sons aside from the daughters who surely peppered his list of progeny, and was wealthy enough that each of his sons had a donkey to ride on.
And then the questions, printed there specifically for the purpose of making me think about my life, making me debate the seriousness of my faith and it's obviousness in my life. They have achieved their purpose ... now I am wondering. What am I doing for God that is worth noting? What will people remember about me when I have lived all my days and I am gone from this earth?
The first thing I thought was, "Oh my goodness, I've done nothing! I'm not financially able to donate lots of money and my children keep me too busy to donate lots of time! I am not a missionary in some foreign country, giving my life (and my modern conveniences) up in order to serve God in a big way! I haven't adopted a helpless, homeless child, nor have I sponsored one (though it is a dream of mine to be able to do that)! For crying out loud, I've never even bought a poor family from (insert third world country here) a goat or a chicken or an ... anything! I'm blowing it! I'm FAILING!"
I sat silently at my kitchen table and fed Piglet her lunch while I debated the idea that my entire life so far has been a waste and that I have been useless in God's plan for humanity, that I have led no souls to the Kingdom and have made no supreme effort to do my duty to my Creator. I stared at my Bible between Piglet's murmuring for more bite-bites, and asked God to show me where I can be useful. What can I do with no "extra" money and no "spare" time? What can I do with right now, this moment that will make it worth God's time to have created me?
And then Piglet murmured again and I looked up into her innocent face, her mouth surrounded by little bits of lunch that had either missed the mouth or had escaped her clumsy attempts to chew. I looked across the table at the empty seat that usually holds Teenybop at mealtimes, the table we have argued, prayed, and made plans across. And I saw in that moment what I have been doing for God when I have no money and no time. I struggle each day to find a balance between having enough "me" time to keep me sane and still giving of myself to both of my children. We are still working on those proportions of time these days, but we're getting by and both my children know that I love them.
I spend extra time with Piglet because she is a demanding baby, and I use most (but honestly, it should be more, I'm sure) opportunities to show love to Teenybop and battle her melancholy personality every day. She is a glass-half-empty person, and I am struggling every day to pour shiny joy and glittery love in a seemingly futile effort to fill her half-empty glass. Even a surprise trip to the park is often met with, "Oh, the park? Again?" This is my daily assignment from God, and my failure was in not giving myself enough credit.
In the end, I know my children will remember that their mother loved them and gave the best years of youth to raising them in the best way the job could be done by this particular mother. In the end, I know my man will have been well-loved and mostly well-appreciated. In the end, I will know that the people who really knew me will know me for who I am and will be able to appreciate that I have always done the best that I can, whether that was enough or not. And in the end, I know that God will have known every thought in my mind, each and every emotion in my heart. He will know the ones I am proud of and the ones I am ashamed of. Since His memories of me are the very most important ones ... I'm sure I will be remembered properly.