All Christians want to do good works. We hear lavish stories of missionaries, amazing outreach, and, if we are honest with ourselves, we know there is more we personally could do. A quote by Martin Luther regarding who actually needs our works helped me put things in perspective:
God does not need your good works, but your neighbor does.
As I stare at my pregnant wife, I can’t help but think about all she is going through to deliver another blessing from God to our household.
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Effortless tasks like buying bags of 7 Eleven Salt & Vinegar Kettle Chips bring a smile to her face. There is no praise to these tasks, but the small deeds done for a neighbor go a long way.
All of the things I take for granted are God working through my neighbor. My wife teaching our daughters about self respect, class, and how to be a lady—things that I know I could not fathom, or even understand, that my wife does with care for our kids. The selflessness to prolong taking the bar exam, so she can care for our kids with the love only a mother can share, is an act that words and deeds cannot express my gratitude. But this is just my wife in her vocation—she does not do it for praise or recognition.
“Vocations are “masks of God.” On the surface, we see an ordinary human face—our mother, the doctor, the teacher, the waitress, our pastor—but, beneath the appearances, God is ministering to us through them. God is hidden in human vocations.”
-Dr. Gene Veith
In our time, the feminist movement has placed a higher value on the pursuit of career, than a motherly calling. And the church has placed a higher value on various other works, than the call to steward your family. But what is a greater calling than to have God bless you with a family, and to give your all to the souls that God has placed in your care?
Dare I say, there is no greater vocation. My wife, is a blessing like no other. She could have decided that defending innocent people was her calling and not sacrificed as much as she has, but she decided that her calling from God as a mother was priority number one, and I am forever grateful.
It is hard not to look at the world and covet the next progression in life. Whether it be a promotion or more notoriety, we have to realize that our fleshly desires are not our priority. Our fleshly desires, to be honest, can also be holy things: wanting the biggest ministry, the best youth program, or to become an elder of your church. Yes, all of these are great and noble ambitions, but we can overlook that the day-to-day deeds are just as holy in God’s sight. Praying with your kids, securing a roof over your family’s head, comforting a co-worker—all are situations that God has placed you in. These tasks may seem trivial or meaningless, but these little deeds can have a bigger impact on your neighbor than the glorious works that we typically praise our fellow Christians for.
“When I go into a restaurant, the waitress who brings me my meal, the cook in the back who prepared it, the delivery men, the wholesalers, the workers in the food-processing factories, the butchers, the farmers, the ranchers, and everyone else in the economic food chain are all being used by God to ‘give me this day my daily bread.’ ”
-Dr. Gene Veith