For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. Mark 14:7-9 (KJV)
I enjoy visiting old cemeteries. It is interesting seeing the dates that people lived and died, family groupings and the way those those who survived the dead immortalized them. The inscriptions often show how they were best known, “Mother”, “Father”, or “Little Lamb” show that someone loved and remembered that person. In our community’s oldest cemetery is tombstone with the inscription that reads, “She hath done what she could.” I often think it sums up a life well lived. To know what we are capable of doing and then, doing it is all about finding balance in this life. Unfortunately, my tombstone will probably read, “She hath done what she should,” because often, I catch myself signing up for a responsibility that I feel more obligated than called to do. I have learned to pray much before opening my mouth to say yes, but occasionally, I still find myself over scheduled, over worked and under stress. Recently, in less than a week, I taught two Bible Studies, a student workshop for my job and agreed to chair our Sunday School class auction. I was only home for dinner one night which goes against a long standing policy in our house that we eat dinner together at least four nights a week. When mom isn’t home enough, things start to fall apart and it isn’t just because no one else seems to be able to do laundry. That time of connection both at dinner and in the evening is essential for the well being of my family and of myself. Many months before when I had committed to do those things, I did not know that they would all come together in the same week much less that it would be a week where we were trying to build a barn. Needless to say, my well intentions meant that all of us were strained and fretful. It is not that those ministries are wrong, nor that we should not all do our part as a member of the body of Christ. It just means that we have to learn to how many balls we can successfully juggle without dropping the most important one, our family. The woman spoken of in these verses in Mark had her priorities in order. Worship of God should come first. If we keep Him as our main focus, He will help us know what we can do and when. If we find most of our time is spent running around like chickens with our heads cut off, there is a good chance that we are not spending enough time in worship. Investing time in God’s work should never come at the expense of relationship with Him or those He has given to us to love. When I die, what will be written on my tombstone? A list of all the meetings I chaired or classes I taught? Hopefully, it will read, “Mother”, “Wife”, “Friend”, “Child of God.” That sums up a life well lived indeed.