When God created me, He put some unique giftings and characteristics within my DNA. My bent is in helps and serving, administration and discernment. I am most comfortable in the background, making others look good and assisting in getting the job done. It comes as no surprise to those who know me well that I am much more like the biblical Martha than her sister Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus to learn more and to worship.
It has become a spiritual discipline for me to read through the Bible every year. I switch it up, chronologically then book by book, a new translation every year, but the words never fail to sound fresh and alive no matter how many years pass by. This year I’m enjoying The Message translation with the books arranged in the order they would have happened, with commentary by Eugene Peterson, who prayerfully and painstakingly made the words easy to understand to the average person. So as I am reading about Moses and the people of Israel, their trials and travels and training in holiness as they build the Tent of Meeting to allow them a place to meet with God and have their sins forgiven every year, I find it easy to feel the joys and heartaches of their lives.
Moses had been given specific instructions in how the structure was to be built. The people were called upon to bring offerings, of gold and silver, bronze and precious stones, fabric and animal skins, oil and fragrant spices. The people wanted to please the God who had brought them out of bondage, and there was an abundance of raw materials and costly gifts, so much that they were told to stop bringing and start crafting. Everyone had a task! There were priests and artisans, seamstresses and servers and woodworkers. As Moses describes the work that was going on he comes to the Bronze Basin that would be used to wash the feet and hands of the priests before they would begin to administer the sacrifices and sacraments at the golden Altar of God.
“He made the Bronze Washbasin and its bronze stand from the mirrors of the women’s work group who were assigned to serve at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.” Exodus 38:8 (MSG)
These dear women had somehow come to a place of submission and surrender to God – they were willing to sacrifice and offer their prize possessions, the bronze mirrors that had been given to them as they fled from Egypt and a life of slavery! Those who served at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting were charged to purity. They were serving the priests, the representatives of Almighty God! Their lives had been changed by the revelation of God’s glory on the mountain, and they willingly gave their precious mirrors to be crafted into the basin that would hold clean water for washing the hands and feet of the priests as they prepared to meet with God and minister to His people. They no longer felt the need to gaze at themselves to determine if they were beautiful. They were sacrificially ministering and in service their beauty was shining brightly.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves…” 1 Peter 3:3-5 (NIV)
With my serving, helping, task-oriented ways I must constantly be asking myself, is my heart in a place of true service and consecration to Him? Am I cleansed and prepared to shine brightly with His glory as I serve? Only His glory will draw men and women to Christ. I must have the mindset of serving Jesus rather than serving others, not the erroneous idea that I am somehow just working. It’s a sacrificial, loving response to all He did for me on the cross. Before going to Calvary, Jesus took up a basin of water and towel and washed the filthy feet of the Twelve, even the one He knew would betray Him. The love that shone forth from His eyes as He took the dusty, mud-caked feet in warm hands and gently cleansed them worked through more than just the surface grime. It went to the core of their hearts to the hurt and broken places and drew them ever closer to His healing presence. I don’t want to get caught up in the tasks and lose sight of the One who gave it all for me. May my heart continue to make the necessary shifts from the Martha-mindset to Mary-delight.
In the Revelation 5:10, we are told that as believers He “has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, and we shall reign on the earth.” This is a promise both for now, that we are already made kings and priests for His glory, and for after He returns, as we shall reign over the earth with Him.
I invite you to join me and offer up all that may look good on the surface to expose the dark and hurting places deep within to our capable Savior. He will see that all our works will be translated as a sacrifice of praise. In Him the load is light, for He places us in families and with others, under the proper authority and spiritual covering, and allows us the privilege and honor of serving Him through touching the lives of others. It is me, and us, and Him, and this dynamic makes the task easy and the load light. All done for Him and His glory! This is true beauty, shining brightly from within to the ones around us, a glory-light that is unmistakable and irresistible, and it is ours as we live for Him alone.