by Gloria Furman
Last week John Piper wrote a blog post “How to Glorify God at Work,” summarizing a message he gave at a conference.
He listed nine areas in which one could apply 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
I was so encouraged by his post that I journaled some thoughts on motherhood, then three ways I could approach the task ahead:
9 Thoughts on Piper’s 9 Points
1 – Dependence. My work as a mother is utterly dependent on God. I should pray for help, like Kristen suggested earlier.
2 – Integrity. My work as a mother requires honesty and consistency. My children and their father should be able to depend on me.
3 – Skill. My work as a mother is a gift that requires stewardship, so I should look for ways to develop my skills.
4 – Corporate shaping. I have influence in shaping the ethos of my home, so the structure and expectations I set up should be in accordance with the gospel of grace.
5 – Impact. My goals are not simply to feed, clothe, educate and bathe my children. My goals involve impacting them on a spiritual level, and I should focus significant attention on this endeavor as well.
6 – Communication. As I interact with my children and the people around me I ought to winsomely, naturally and joyfully communicate the love of God.
7 – Love. I ought to have an attitude of service, initiating ways to practically love my children through good times and bad.
8 – Money. I should use the resources God has given me to show how Christ is a greater treasure to me than money.
9 – Thanks. My work as a mother ought to be marked by thankfulness and not complaining. No matter how mundane it gets.
3 Ways to Approach the Task of Motherhood
Piper’s list reminded me that there are three ways I could approach the task of glorifying God in my work as a mother.
1 – Forget It. I could feel there’s no use in trying. These standards are impossible, so I give up before I start. This is such a temptation for me.
2 – Try Harder. Then there’s my personal default mode– self-sufficiency. I see the inherent value in these things and feel guilty about the areas I struggle in. I’m inspired to change. I identify my weak areas and make a list of how to fix them. After all, I’m a responsible hard-worker and I like to accomplish things. So I muscle through the work of motherhood. And at the end of the day I’m steeped in self-righteousness– either basking in pride or grieving because of guilt that I’m not doing more.
3 – Cherish Grace. I agree that the standards are too high—there’s no way I can do all of these perfectly all the time. I can’t shepherd my children in godliness, joyfully care for their physical needs, cultivate skills in creativity, serve sacrificially, or even have expectations in line with God’s grace unless I’m dependent on God’s grace. So I go back to point number one from Piper’s list. Every effort in my work must flow from a dependence on the grace of God.
When I grieve that I’ll never be a perfect mother then the gospel comforts me by reminding me to live in the reality that my acceptance is based on Christ’s righteousness. When I’m tempted to gloat in my motherly accomplishments then the gospel humbles me through the reminder that these blessings are gifts from God to lead me to God.
At the end of the day…
So here I am at the end of the day again… but instead of grieving with guilt or gloating with pride, the gospel of grace enables me to tuck my children into their beds and confess with tears of joyful relief, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)”
There’s a time and place where we should carefully examine points two through nine on that first list, but right now let’s just talk about the first one– dependence.
In your work of motherhood, what are you depending on? And at the end of the day how do you evaluate your work?
ABOUT THE WRITER
Gloria is from all over the US (mostly Texas). In 2008 she moved to the Middle East with her husband Dave to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai. They have three real kiddos (Aliza, Norah and Judson) who befriended two imaginary children. Gloria enjoys serving the ladies in her community as a doula, and thinks pumpkins belong in everything edible including lattes.