Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Tea

For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required... Luke 12:48

There are various words which I do not welcome in my vocabulary for they remind me of weaknesses within my very soul... like the word waiting.  I was never very good at it, although practice is making it easier (if not welcome).

Recently I've been pondering another word which I've tried to hide from, walk around, leap over, and dig tunnels through for the past forty or so years.  That word is.... shudder... limitations... the curse of the finite being.

I remember the first time I really felt the limitations of mind, body, and soul... in this case the mind.  When I was growing up, I always loved science and read about all fields of science.  I was particularly interested in space travel (probably the affect of Star Trek).

Science classes were just fine until I hit chemistry and quickly realized my lack of math skills were now in the way of my science studies.  When I say lack of math skills I mean... really lacking... my brain has never been able to wrap itself around advanced math.  Okay, I had trouble with math once we started multiplying fractions.  I had to drop out of chemistry as well as physics the next year.  Perhaps it is a good thing to make it to your high school years before hitting a brick wall because of limitations?

There were limitations along the way which came from good things happening in life... marriage and motherhood being two of them.  Although motherhood didn't stop me much until Christopher was born in my thirties.  Hubby and I took Stephanie just about everywhere with us, which is probably why she could converse quite well with adults at age six.  :)

Just as I've learned waiting is a necessary part of life as I've become older, so are limitations.  Instead of complaining about them... well, very much... I've learned to work around them.  After a winter of being a couch potato, my energy level (which is not high these days, anyway) has been abysmal as I worked to rake layers of leaves off of the raised beds in the garden.  It took two days to rake them off and I only gave a quick glance to the dead perennials needing attention in the yard... limitations!

Edith Schaeffer writes a great deal about limitations in her books.  Except she talks about the finite-ness of our lives.  For instance, she reminds us every time we choose to spend money in one area... we are choosing to not spend it in a variety of others.   Time spent in one activity automatically means there is no time for others.  (Probably the deepest subject on which she writes but what can you expect from a woman married to one of the greatest Christian theologian-philosophers of the 20th century?)  But you must admit, it makes you pause and think...

Limitations have been a source of frustration in my life as the affects of time and illness have prevailed.  There is so much more I have wanted to do that I cannot and no amount of wishing makes a difference. How I missed what I used to be able to do and that which I could accomplish.

But years ago during a quiet time, the above verse just popped out at me in a way you would not expect.  There came a peace that truly passes understanding as I felt God Himself opened my eyes to a Truth I had been missing.  For if He requires a great deal from one whom He has given much... He also is compassionate and understanding to those who are now lacking.

We can only do what we have the resources to accomplish and when there is a lack of health or finances or time or energy for whatever reason... He understands and does not expect what He does from one who is able to do more.  We do our best with what we have, never stomping our feet and giving up... but knowing full well when enough is... enough.

When we are faithful with the little, He knows and understands.  It is only when we choose to do nothing at all that we fail Him and ourselves.   If it takes two days to clear the garden beds... so be it.  If we can only pray and not go or do... so be it.  If we only have a few dollars to send to the emergency relief... so be it.  If dinner must be sandwiches and cut up veggies... so be it.

To whom much is not given... not as much is required.... and that is a source of great peace to the one who is weary or broke or ill or brokenhearted and leaning on the everlasting arms of God.  I have learned to do the best and be the best with what I have been given and not fret over what I have not.


freetobeme - Anita said...

Hmmmm " whom not much is given, not much is required." While I know this is true, I don't remember ever seeing it written out before. I've said many times, "We're not rich but we're comfortable." There was a time when we were in need and folks gave to us. To this day I don't know who they were. Now I know the joy that comes from giving to someone in need. Thanks for sharing, Brenda.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for helping me to understand it so much better. Maybe now I can stop feeling like such a failure in some areas of my life.

Vee said...

Yes. So very true. And many of us are banging our heads into walls because we are not performing well at things way beyond our capabilities. I can rush into things that God has no intention of my doing in the first place just because I think it would be a good thing. This is why it is imperative that we are always communicating with and listening to Him. Thank you, Brenda. A blessed day to you...

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Thank you Brenda...Not banging our heads against brick walls will make us more able to do what we can do. I need to remember this more often. I walked around the outside of my house recently (camera in hand) and was so proud of myself but still sad remembering how Paul and I used to walk 2.2 miles together every morning before breakfast.

Anonymous said...

Encouraging words, Thanks Brenda!
I barely manage to drag my weary bones around most days too...I suppose the typical exisitance of those of us with diabetes perhaps. Though I can never remember a day of my life that I awakened feeling least I am not sure I know what that is. Perhaps that has made it somewhat easier to adjust to life now in this stage. All things working together for our good and all...and besides one day we will not be weighted down with all the body problems anymore!! A new body...I anticipate this with joy!!
Blessings, Elizabeth

Debra said...

Great post! I especially liked your tweaking of the Bible verse. So true. Blessings, Debra

Mrs.Rabe said...


You have a very good way with words! How often do we struggle because we think we should be doing xyz and we can't, etc.

We just need to do what God has for us today - with what He has given to us to do whatever it is.

Blessings to you, friend!

Anonymous said...

My husband and I also suffer from several medical conditions including my genetic liver disease which is quite serious. We too live on a fixed income, having little or nothing each month.We feel it is better to just be happy that we have what we do;because there are others in even worse financial situations. We strive to never mention or complain about our situation to others,because we all have our cross to bear. Our goal is to always give God the glory for what we do have. It's easier to try to live a holy life if one is not a grumbler.

LisaZ said...

It is wonderful to see the promise and forgiveness in Scripture. Thank you for opening up this verse to me in a new way.

Vicki in UT said...

I had never thought of it that way. That is a very interesting idea, and very comforting. thank you.

Lynn said...

Brenda I needed to read this today - thank you :)