Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ripples and Remembering

He was taking off his socks as he perched precariously on the green frog stool. He grinned cheekily up at me, his shoulder bones poking out behind him like undersized wings. The bath water ran steadily. His brother pounded on the toilet lid.  I picked up grass-stained clothes, poured in bubble bath, saved a roll of toilet paper from imminent death.

He was taking off his socks when he looked up at me and said, "When he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them..."

He was taking off his socks, and he opened his mouth and out came some of the first few words of the Sermon on the Mount, clear as day.


One of the ways I have been trying to choose the Good Portion this year is that I am slowly (very slowly) memorizing the Sermon on the Mount. Memorizing is not my gift. Remembering anything is not my gift. To put it bluntly: I'm lucky if I remember to flush the toilet. Remembering three entire chapters of the Bible? The chances are slim.

But I've been plugging away diligently. I'll frequently review the verses I've learned as I walk the dog and push the double stroller (or rather, get pulled by the dog and drag the double stroller behind me). I try to say the words conversationally, occasionally stopping to discuss them with the Little Man, but I didn't really think he was listening. Sometimes, with our crazy Oklahoma wind, I doubt he can even hear, much less listen, but something was sinking in.

But that's the thing about choosing the Good Portion. It doesn't just affect me. It didn't just affect Mary when she chose the Good Portion. When she sat down at Jesus's feet, just to listen, just to learn, it set off an entire chain of events that, in the big picture, pointed others towards Christ. If Mary hadn't chosen Jesus, she would have been in the kitchen with Martha. Martha would never have been frustrated by her lack of help. Martha would never have accused Jesus of not caring and demanded Mary's help. Most likely, Martha would have seamlessly served the perfect dinner and patted herself on the back for her hospitality, her heart no closer to Jesus than it was before he came.

Don't hear me bashing Martha or her incredible spirit of service, but I find myself asking the question: if I draw near to Christ, will that leave a hole in someone else's life that will force them forward, out of the comfort zone of their kitchen and into Christ's presence? If I draw near to Christ, how do the ripple effects disturb the rest of the pond? If I draw near to Christ, without thought for an audience, who might yet be watching?

I didn't want to mention on here that I am trying to memorize the Sermon on the Mount. Mostly because I don't like publicly setting goals there's a good chance I won't achieve, but also because I'm terrified of seeming Super-Christiany. In all honestly: I'm really, really bad at this. But I really, really want to understand more of who Jesus Christ is, and I know the best way to do that is to listen to what He said.
I'm sharing all of this with you just to encourage you, not to challenge you--I haven't earned the right to challenge anyone in this area--but to encourage you. Because every choice counts. Every step matters. Every ripple leads to another.
And even if it's two steps forward, one step back (or two steps forward, two steps back), and even if you don't see the purpose or the prize, and even if you're tired and want to quit, you matter. What you do matters. Who you are matters. And Christ loves that you are stumbling into His presence, however slowly and clumsily.
And sometimes he'll use a grubby kneed three year old to tell you just that.

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