I am evaluating one of my activities–in light of my ministry.
Very often God uses my husband to communicate truth to me. I trust him, and I listen to him; I’m not offended by his insight into my life. He knows me very well. Lately, Tim has been telling me that my subbing is getting in the way of my writing.
So I find myself asking a difficult question, Why do I love subbing? I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe it’s because the teachers like me. They know that I can manage their class well and actually teach their material. As an added benefit, my “blonde nature” adds light-heartedness that the students love. They are precious, and I like them! I love bringing a break in their routine. That’s a good thing, right? It can be a ministry, right?
But is it my ministry? Is it my passion?
My ministry passion is to help women know and fall in love with God’s Word and to hear His voice clearly through Scripture.
When we love God’s Word and we’ve heard His voice …
… we spend more time there …
… we get to know The Author, and …
… we fall in love with Him.
All of this leads to a life that is filled with purpose and meaning–not perfection, but fulfilled and meaningful.
Usually, I am leading a Bible study. This year, however, I am a student and enjoying being a part of the group. The break is supposed to give me time to focus on writing–for my blog, but mostly to get a Bible study I wrote several years ago, ready for publication. I have not spent much time on this–in reality, I’ve spent half of one day, which only happened because–yes–I scheduled it into my calendar. My focus is clouded. Getting my Bible ready doesn’t require tons of time every week. But I have a full schedule with my teenagers, and I have parents who need special attention, too. When I add subbing into the mixture, my very limited time for this is almost nonexistent.
In my quiet times this week, a fairly clear pattern is emerging. I love how God takes a little from “this over here,” a little from “that over there,” and then drives home the truth He has been whispering in my ear.
To begin with, there are Mary and Martha.
As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details. There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42) [Emphasis added.]
Previously when I read this passage, I always thought of busy-ness. But the other day, I thought, Am I choosing anything that is less than the best?
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4 NIV) [Emphasis added.]
Hmmmmm … Then …
I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:23-27 NIV)
I began to consider how how subbing fit into my big picture compared to the passion God gave me.
What is my prize? (Or my One thing?)
In my “strict training,” am I eliminating the things that get in the way?
Am I running aimlessly?
When I’m subbing, I am sprinkling salt and light, certainly. But I’m only there for a short time. The teachers who are there, day in and day out, have the significant impact.
It’s fitting that a good friend encouraged me to read The Best Yes, by Lysa TerKeurst. I already have the book. I’ve read the first three chapters. I need to finish it. But when? If I can’t answer that question, I have a problem!
There is a lot of good in subbing. I am not a school teacher by trade. I can teach, and I enjoy it; but not enough to make it a career. Teaching students is far different than teaching women’s Bible studies. I have deep respect for school teachers.
I have to know that I am investing my limited time how God wants me to invest it. And right now, I’m questioning. I will miss some of my teacher friends. And … admittedly … I’m a little afraid about what some people will thing about this decision, especially those who are not ministry focused. But I also know that I am to please God and honor Him–not man.
I have a few commitments for this month. Beyond that, I will not accept anymore assignments until I am 100% sure.
What about you? Maybe you aren’t overwhelmed with a busy schedule, but are you investing your time the way God wants you to?
What is your one thing? Are you focused on it?
What needs to change so that you are? Will it be a difficult decision to make?
Image Credit: Property of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., City Slickers, 1991.