In my years of "formal education" I was content to be a B/C student, with the occasional A that came in subjects I was just good at. I never really tried, being content with whatever came along. Every great once in a while, if there was a teacher I really liked, I tried to get a good grade. It didn't always work.
I am currently doing an online Bible study through Rachel Olsen's book It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know and one of the study questions is begging me to look a little deeper at my "take it as it comes" attitude. The background comes from the anointing at Bethany, the woman who finds Jesus at a dinner party and lavishes him with a costly ointment, pouring it over His head. This was not a bottle of Sweet Honesty that she found in the back of her grandma's closet; this was a balm that would have cost her several years wages to purchase. We don't know how long she was saving to be able to purchase this, or what motivated her to save in the first place. Perhaps God put it on her heart that she would need to have this someday, and it was enough of a reason for her. We can assume that the price was not an amount of money that she shook out of her bedroll. She loved her Teacher and was motivated, driven, to serve Him in a wholly self-sacrificing way, to give Him her very best. The act itself would have probably been enough to carry her for the rest of her life, but Jesus gave her a little icing on the cake: "Truly, I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her." Matthew 26:13
So...what's a happily "average" girl supposed to do with a challenge like this?
Call it a pre-mid-life crisis or something, but my "be happy with a B I didn't try for" ways are changing. Partly because I really like my Teacher, and partly because for the first time in my life I am realizing I am capable of more. Jesus doesn't need more to love me better, I know that. I think it is important to remind us all of that. He loves us where we are. But, and here's the rub, will we be satisfied squeaking by in service that just comes naturally, or is convenient? Are we willing to be inconvenienced, for lack of a better word, for Christ? Will we be driven to serve Him in a sold-out way, through personal sacrifice and hard work? In the words of Andy Stanley, How good is good enough?
As someone who tends to be a little full of herself, my first step is to keep my motives pure. I don't want to get good at something to be better than someone else. I want to get better at something to give Jesus my best, a work that will stand the test of fire. If I want to be His witness and live out loud for Him, He should be worth my every effort. In a practical sense, it means applying what I am learning about writing. It looks like crafting a talk for Mom Time that is tight...cohesive with an applicable point. As part of a team, it means learning to be quiet when necessary, deferring to others and learning humility. It means encouraging others to head in the same direction I am, even though the world would define them as competition.
When Mary anointed Jesus with the expensive perfume, she didn't do it to gain recognition for herself. I need to follow that same example. Whatever I do, whether it be writing or speaking, caring for my family, giving away an umbrella on a rainy day, letting someone behind me get the better parking spot, should be a pure act of service to my King. When I start looking for a reward or a pat on the head from someone, I need to step back. The satisfaction I seek needs to be from the Lord, alone. If I have made a difference in someone's day because of something I have done for Jesus, that is my icing on the cake.
Can I encourage you today to do your best, despite the cost, just for the knowledge of Who you are doing it for? Just because you really love your Teacher?
If you want to know more about the Bible study, it is being done through Melissa Taylor's blog. Both Melissa and Rachel Olsen are with Proverbs 31. We just finished the first week, so it is not too late to jump in and discover some Divine Secrets!