In C.S. Lewis’ book, The Four Loves, Lewis writes a descriptive picture of love gone bad. He introduces us to Mrs. Fidget, who is known for living for her family. But it turns out that this is not a complementary description. Mrs. Fidget displays a distorted expression of love that makes the objects of her love miserable. For example, Lewis writes:
For Mrs. Fidget, as she so often said, would ‘work her fingers to the bone’ for her family. They couldn’t stop her. Nor could they—being decent people—quietly sit still and watch her do it. They had to help. Indeed, they were always having to help. That is, they did things for her to help her do things for them which they didn’t want done.
Lewis had other humorous descriptions of Mrs. Fidget that painted a picture of someone serving themselves in the name of ‘love.’ Have you ever known someone like that? Someone who tries to control you on account of looking out for your best interest. ‘I’m only doing this for you’ they might say. They give gifts no one wants that end up being demanding burdens. Lurking behind their posture of ‘love’ is a deep-seated self-interest. Their ‘love’ for others is really a love for themselves.
This distorted love may be easier to spot in someone else, but have you ever seen it in yourself?
It may sneak into our actions more than we think. Even Martha, who welcomed Jesus into her home, seemed to be slipping into this trap while serving him. The story relays that Martha’s sister, Mary, is listening to Jesus while sitting at his feet. Mary is exactly where she needs to be. But Martha begins to act a little like Mrs. Fidget:
But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:40-42 NRSV)
Jesus was gentle, but he wasn’t going to let Martha rob Mary of the words of life he was giving her. Maybe we need to hear Jesus’ gentle correction ourselves and ask ourselves if we are focused on the more important things of life – following Jesus, and loving others as he loved them.
Either way, Jesus opposes the Mrs. Fidget approach to life, where we get so distracted serving others with self-seeking expressions of love that we neglect what they need and what we need – to stay focused on Jesus. This is the better part, Jesus says, which cannot be taken away from us.
Presented by Greg Williams
About the presenter:
Greg Williams is President of Grace Communion International and lives in North Carolina, USA. Word of Life each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life’, (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International.
You are welcome to attend one of our local church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.
Word of Life contact: