What’s that they say about the Ides of March? Beware… This middle of March when Spring flirts with our hearts, but Winter stabs us in the back. Things that shouldn’t feel so difficult, do. Even a grocery store trip can be insufferable, especially when it seems I have tiny conspirators working against me. Oh, my kids know how to topple me. It’s not like they even intend to; it’s just that they have ideas, and needs, and demands, and emotions. And my own emotions instruct me to climb back into bed until Spring and the Sun make some kind of commitment to remain. I’m outnumbered and my patience and strength reserves are running low. I glance with envy at the older ladies who glide by with their elegant selections of oranges, yogurt, almonds, avocados, and sparkling water. I struggle to steer my cargo ship of groceries while children whirl in a gravitational orbit around my cart. “Oh, you don’t home school them all do you?” a stranger asks incredulously. Wait? How do you know? Am I wearing a badge? Am I wearing pajamas? Is it my twitching left eyelid? ….Yes. I do home school them, I surrender. “Wow. Well, God bless you.” It sounds more scornful than benevolent. I thank her anyway. I pile up the food onto the conveyor belt, slightly sheepish about the quantities. “There are 20 more kids at home,” I joke to the clerk. She probably believes me. #homeschoolers.
That was Friday. But today is Sunday. And it’s remarkable what some warmth and sunshine can do for a soul. Also a good sermon. Our pastor, Chris Brauns of the Red Brick Church, addressed the struggle of moving through the Groundhog Days of life when everything seems repetitious and monotonous. When that groundhog shadow follows me from February into March, how can I rise from bed every day ready to take on another shopping trip to Aldi? How can I face the demands of kids that seem never-ending and tiresome? Preaching from 2 Corinthians, Pastor Brauns instructed us on how Paul dealt with the people of the church at Corinth, who were, in a sense, behaving much like children. They came at Paul with accusations and complaints and Paul, boasting only in Christ, had to stand firm against their conspiring. He wrote to them, “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls.” (2 Corinthians 12:15).
Paul was spent. He was tired. He was weak. He even called himself a nobody (v. 11). But all feelings aside, he was eager to bring the Gospel. “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (2 Corinthians 2:2) That’s it. That is all of it. Christ crucified. Like the sunshine through the stained glass windows was that encouragement to me today in church. Even when I don’t feel like my grocery trips and my housework and my scrubbing pots and pans matter, I can rise every day in the joy of the Gospel. To my kids who try me and frustrate me, I can say most emphatically, “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls.” I will rise tomorrow to do it all over again simply because I get to tell you about what Jesus did for you. I can think of no better endeavor than to overcome tedium by teaching you that Jesus loved you enough to die for you. Is there a greater story in all the world?
So, even when the weekly schedule is on repeat, the duties are relentless, and the groceries roll down the conveyor belt one day after another, I am blessed by yet another day to recount the good news of Christ to the little ears that will hear. I will spend, spend, spend. Because the reward is very great.