I see these all the times and on weekends like this it’s a great time to share some thoughts.
We think that being perfect is an unattainable ideal, and when we define our perfection the way that society does it is more than true. But perfection itself, while being an ideal, is not one that I believe is unreachable or even bad! I know you’re all shaking your heads, but stay with me. Perfection developed out of an ideal of completeness. The Greeks thought that to be complete you had to shed your physical existence by attaining knowledge. The Egyptians thought that to be complete you had to do enough right so your ka (soul) could find heaven. I’m a Christian, and being complete in Christ is like nothing the world has ever seen. Being perfect in Christ is not only a beautiful desire but a promise! And one that I long for. It drives me to grow, to learn about myself and who God wants me to be. It might not be popular to say but my children don’t complete me, my husband either. Only Christ can do that.
How to be perfect/complete in Christ is a long lesson and one that is ultimately finished by him, but it starts with understanding what it is that defines us. Take this illustration from Dr. Hollinger, the GCTS president, who spoke at our chapel this weekend. Same old story we all know about Mary and Martha, but he made a distinct point that Martha was NOT doing something bad. She was serving, like Christ serves, like we serve our children and our families day in and day out. And yet there is a strong difference between the choices of each woman that Jesus does not miss. Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus, which is a position of learning and a distinct phrase denoting discipleship. She was listening and learning, defining herself by her presence at his feet. Jesus tells Martha that Mary’s choice is one that will last, that it will help her persevere in times if hardship and struggle and darkness. It is the better choice, because it will sustain her. Martha is defining herself by her service, and when she attempts to make Mary do the same he rebukes her. The lesson is this.
Perfection/completeness comes FIRST from being at Jesus’ feet, not doing the dishes, cooking, teaching, going to women’s Bible study or any of the many many things we do. Think of mother Theresa or Corrie Ten Boom. They faced unspeakable hardship founded not on their work but by their discipleship at the feet of Christ, in prayer and in study and listening. Their service was an outpouring of that devotion, a by product that was blessed by their good choice. I think we CAN reach toward being perfect, I think we can live a life devoted to becoming complete in Christ and have no shame in wanting or pursuing that. For us who love God and want our children to fall love with him as well, we MUST do that. And we have to start at Jesus’ feet.
Last thought, Jesus’ feet never stayed still for long. Are we ready and willing to follow when he gets up and starts walking?