We had a mulch delivery last week. The plan was that Toby would do the shovelling and spreading first thing Saturday morning, but I figured I'd help him out by doing as much as I could on Friday afternoon, getting a little extra exercise and giving the kids a chance to help out into the bargain. At least, that's how my thinking started out, but my delusional pride soon kicked into overdrive.
I said to myself, "Self, you sure are working hard! You're teaching your kids to work hard, and you're even being patient! Yes, sir, you're pretty good. Think how pleased your husband will be when he comes home to see how much as been done! Man, he's gonna get you flowers or something. I'll bet even the neighbors are thinking about what a hard worker you are..."
Pathetic, isn't it? But wait, it gets worse:
"It sure is hot out here. I wish these kids would help a little more - they're just running around! Don't they know how hard this is? I thought I was setting a good example for them, but they're not even paying attention! What if no one notices how hard I've worked?"
Fortunately, the Holy Spirit had had enough at this point and stepped in.
"You know, it is hard work, and someone does notice. The Father notices. He notices when you work hard, but it should be for His glory, not for the praise of men. He is honored when you serve others, so don't concentrate on what others notice or not. And you are setting an example for your children, but don't look for their thanks or approval. It's not for now that you're training them - it's for when they are adults, with spouses and children of their own to serve. It's then that what you've modelled for them will bear fruit. Now stop trying to glorify yourself, and look to glorify the One who is actually worthy of it."
Thank you, Lord, for correcting my heart, and giving me the opportunity to serve you by serving my family. Thank you for reminding me that what I do now will serve my children - maybe not now, but in due season.