A Greater Goal: Known For Christ (2)

{this is part two of five}
Part One

Known for Christ

I think we all know that life is about more than keeping house. Even being a wife and a mother isn’t all that life is about – there’s a bigger picture, and that’s the glory of God. But it’s hard to put that thought into practice. When we’re not in school, we have more discretionary time than most people do. So what do we do? Most often, the things we fill it with are hobbies. Knitting. Baking. Sewing. Crocheting. Writing. Photography. Music. We’ve finished our chores and maybe we’ve done a little extra and we’ve read our Bibles, so we turn to these things.

A hobby is a pastime, diversion, or interest, undertaken for pleasure during leisure time. In moderation, this is good, even necessary. Jesus sometimes retreated from His ministry to rest – but His focus was on doing the will of His Father. Some hobbies can turn into something more and they can serve and build up the church. It’s possible for them to have eternal value. We can turn a hobby into a business, or make quilts to bless mothers, bread to feed the homeless, and hats for crisis pregnancy centers. We learn character through ripping out seams to re-sew the quilt square or patiently waiting for bread to rise. These skills and many more were once necessary to clothe and feed families. But now, they’re nice things to add to life, not life itself. For most of the world, hobbies aren’t what people fill their lives with.  While we can and should enjoy them, they’re not a focal point – of life, of conversation, of blogs.


            This was my life, and something I’m still working against. I run, write, read, play music, and sew. These often filled up my whole day. Sometimes they’re hard things so they’re not always pleasurable, and sometimes I can see production from it and so I feel like I’m being useful and productive. But then I learned that being busy does not equal being fruitful, and it does not equal being faithful.

 

The way a lot of us daughters live, we can be labeled as “good Christian girls.” We feel like we’re doing well since we dress modestly, don’t flirt (but girls, have you ever considered that there’s a form of “good Christian girl” flirting where we try to show off our kitchen skills, baby skills, or theological knowledge to get a guy’s attention? It’s the same thing the world does but in a different form), and help around the house. From the outside, often it looks like our goal is to be good cooks, skillful in handiwork, and adept at changing diapers.  But if we’re Christians, shouldn’t we be known for Christ? Shouldn’t our conversation be about Him? Shouldn’t He be what makes us stand out?

We’re busy, and know that these things are important in preparing us for the future, and that Christian women are supposed to be keepers at home and love their husbands and children. We see that the Proverbs 31 woman is an entrepreneur, so maybe we have a little business, too.
But we can produce a lot and not be fruitful. We can check off all the things on our lists and not be faithful.

If you look in scripture, we’re supposed to care for the poor, the orphan, and the widow. We’re told to build up the church, honor our father and mother, spur one another on to love and good deeds, abide in Christ and so bear much fruit, and make disciples of all the nations. Those are just a few commands. Knitting, baking, tea parties, and eating organic can be included in this, but they can also distract us from this bigger, more important vision. They can take time from what we should be investing in, and when we get so excited about them, they can actually HIDE what is of the utmost importance: God and the gospel. I don’t want to detract from the importance of motherhood, and role as daughters preparing for it. But the way we prepare for it is sometimes wrong, and we’re very wrong when we place first importance and desire on getting married and having babies.

The concept of putting these things in their places has really hit home with me in the area of healthy living. Our bodies are temples of the Lord, so we need to take good care of them, to honor Him, and also so we might, by grace, live longer, to have more years to worship and serve Him. But even so, this earthly life is passing away, and our bodies aren’t the only things we have to steward. We need to consider the time and the money invested, too. Is the money and time we’re giving to eat organic, use cloth diapers, make our own bread, and research the latest health fads or the dangers of such-and-such the best use of our resources? Sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes it’s no. You have to find balance. You have to remember that our bodies will pass away, but our souls are eternal, and so are the souls given to us to care for and the souls in the jungle in Africa and in the mansion or on the bench down the road.

If our goals and pleasures come from these things that pass away, we will be disappointed. Our greatest joy and hope should be Christ; our investment in His Kingdom. We so easily become preoccupied with the little things in life, being content with eating mud pies when there is a feast.

Ladies, let’s have a bigger vision than being “good” and knitting, baking, and sewing. Examine your time. Make the best use of it, redeem it. Search scripture to determine what your priorities should be. This doesn’t mean you can’t do things just because you enjoy them. But you need to examine your heart – are you being a “good Christian” or living for Christ above all? I must take the log out of my own eye. How often do I talk about music more than Christ? How often do I make music seem more desirable than Christ? How often do I spend time on Facebook that should be spent more productively?

Arts and crafts as hobbies are good, but we must be careful how we use them. They can keep us from spending time with our siblings, or they can train a girl’s hands to better care for her home and family. They can be used to make museum pieces or to develop skills that can be maximized in service. They can be used to relax or to be lazy. They can be used to turn your house into an immaculate display or to make it into a home that is comfortable and aesthetically beautiful. Take some time this week to read Titus 2:3-5 and 1 Timothy 2:9-10, 5:3-14 – and purpose to devote yourselves to these things now. Don’t wait to start. For some of us, that will mean less time in the craft room. For others, it might mean more time there. We may need to put aside knitting to serve a family – our own or someone else’s. Or we may need to pick it up to practice the skill so it can be used to serve, or take a break from our labors.

We need to examine our lives: are we more about our hobbies or about the glorious God who has saved us? Do we care more about homeschooling and dressing modestly than we do about the gospel? While other things have importance and the gospel has implications for them, salvation by grace alone in Christ Jesus should be our first priority, and we should first and foremost be known for being His followers.

{I’m thinking of four women as I write this. My mother, Mrs. N, Mrs. C and Mrs. M – all women in my church who are wonderful examples of Christian womanhood. All are incredibly skilled in areas of cooking and crafts – but what marks them – what they’re known for – aren’t these things but hospitality, graciousness, serving the church, discipling younger women, and ministry – the good works we’re commanded to do. And often, they use their baking, decorating, or organizational skills to do this}
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

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6 thoughts on “A Greater Goal: Known For Christ (2)

  1. Matthew says:

    Kyleian, it’s great to see someone wrestling like the early church did with the ideal way to translate scriptural injunctions into rules for everyday life. A thousand theologians have given us a thousand different perspectives that are no doubt worthwhile, but the best first step as Christians is always to engage with the Bible ourselves and see how Christ directs our minds and hearts, just as you’re doing.

    In light of your topic, I have some theological points that I’d like to get your opinion on, but seeing as you’re laying the groundwork for your argument, I’ll save them until the edifice has been built.

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  2. Yoko says:

    Well-expressed, Kyleian. Thank you for saying these things! There are many sentences I wish I could highlight on if this were paper. It is so beneficial that you have at least realized these pitfalls we don’t see from outside glance. Thank you for reminding us of our essential priority..the purpose of Christian lives. These memories of realizations will follow you however your path maybe in the future:)

    I want to share with you a quote that I recently listened to one of the desiringgod conference messages and it’s been echoing into my heart. I think it is relevent to your insight.

    “We need to recognize our circumstances are by the grace of God alone. And pray for God’s mercy that we avoid the temptations of our blessed circumstances. Have you ever considered for a moment the absolute mercy and grace that you are born into your circumstances? You could just as easily born in the slums of Bangladesh or as the son of Shinto priest..And if you had been born in the slums of Bangladesh or as the son of Shinto priest, how would you want the people in this audience here today(←us) to respond?”

    God blessed us so so much..why me and you? why not my friends who are as sinners as I am don’t know Christ and I’ve been given my salvation? What do we do with our God-given skills, our God-given knowledge, our God-given minds, our God-given wisdom, our God-given passions and our God-given talents? What are they for?

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    • Kyleian says:

      Thank you for that quote! It makes me think of the verse in “How Sweet and Awesome is the Place” – “Why was I made to hear your voice and enter while there’s room, while thousands make a wretched choice and rather starve than come?”

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