Do you ever feel like those tasks that fall on your to do list each and every day keep you from doing something really great? The never ending stream of dirty dishes, piles of laundry, phone calls to follow-up on, a lawn that needs to be mowed, meals to cook, emails to respond to, appointments to attend, meetings to participate in. Sometimes it feels like all of this stuff is what we do to pass the time from one great event to another.
Often times to mark great moments in life, we hire a photographer to take professional pictures. Events like weddings, 25th & 50th wedding anniversaries, births of new babies, graduations and great vacations. The truth is, there are a whole lot of days, hundreds of days, that fall between those events.
I think that some of the greatest moments are found doing everyday chores. Those are the things that I like to capture pictures of. I think that God has incredible blessings in store for us within the everyday great stuff that happens to us.
One of my favorite verses to hold to during the daily goings on in my life is;
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 NIV.
Whatever I do…dishes, laundry, cooking meals, playing with my children, pulling weeds in the garden, planning Sunday School lessons, reading, writing, speaking with others…this verse covers it ALL. All that I do, and all that you do.
To be honest, I do not always work at it with all of my heart. Sometimes I work at it halfheartedly soaked in selfish complaints and grumbling. “why is no one helping me”, “when are they going to learn”, “why me”, “why here”, and so many more. I have a lot of practice being disagreeable and complaining. Most of it, the worst of it, happens in my own head. Sometimes I just let those thoughts run a muck in my mind. Those are times when I do not take those thoughts captive to make them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) or to be transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2).
It’s also those grumbling times that I am not focused on how my actions serve Christ. It is then that I am thinking about the other people I am trying to serve, or trying to please, or hoping to be rewarded by. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have set out to do something to earn praise from another person. Most often those are the times where the work goes unnoticed, the effort unmentioned and is not affirmed by anyone.
My main love language is words of affirmation, by a stretch. I can be very leading in my questions to try to pry out words from people. I may say something like, “did you happen to notice” or “what did you think about…” All I am really doing is seeking something for myself. I am seeking those words of affirmation and praise.
When I go through my day to day activities with selfish motives and grumbling thoughts, it really is not very rewarding – for me or for anyone else. It is not affirming and it certainly does not feel like it is great stuff. It can feel like it is something I have to do to get to something more fun, more enjoyable and well, more focused on me.
But, as of late, I have really been trying to battle these thoughts in my mind. To realize that the small things, the often unnoticed things are the everyday great stuff that life is made of. These blessings disguised as work and repetition. There are so many rich treasures to behold in any average day, if I work at it with all of my heart as if serving Christ and not myself.
I have been reading a book called The Greatest Thing in the World: Love by Henry Drummond. It was written in 1874 and it was so beautifully penned. I found a small leather covered edition from the 1920s in an antique store. It has been like reading a timeless love letter, actually it is because it is all about “the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
In the book, Drummond has included this quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “Talent develops itself in solitude; character in the stream of life.” Drummond goes on to talk about the talents that we can develop in solitude; prayer, meditation, and seeing of the unseen. Then he says that our character is developed in the stream of the world’s life.
It is in the midst of the day to day activities and relationships that we are able to practice. Drummond says so eloquently, “Do not quarrel therefore with your lot in life. Do not complain of its never ceasing cares, its petty environment, the vexations you have to stand, the small and sordid souls you have to live and work with. Above all, do not resent temptation; do not be perplexed because it seems to thicken round you more and more, and ceases neither for effort nor agony nor prayer. That is your practice. That is the practice which God appoints you; and it is having its work in making you patient, and humble, and generous, and unselfish, and kind, and courteous, Do not grudge the hand that is moulding the still too shapeless image within you. It is growing more beautiful, though you see it not, and every touch of temptation may add to its perfection. Therefore keep in the midst of life.”
I know its a long quote, but I just had to share it because it is so relevant, so applicable to living out a life focused on the everyday great stuff of our lives. As I shared earlier, I quarrel and complain about my lot in life. I can scroll through Drummond’s list of complaints and check YES by each one of them. I have complained about them all.
My life and its every day workings have been chosen for me by God. He chose them for me so that He could mold me, shape me and craft me into something more beautiful. I need to keep on practicing and keep on working for the Lord with all of my heart, in the smallest of things that I would like to complain about.
While we are on the subject of small things, did you happen to notice this small word in the quote from Henry Drummond, “It is growing you MORE beautiful.” More. Additional. Extra. In greater amount. Which means that you are already beautiful. You are already a splendid, hand crafted miracle. Life can be used to shape us and craft us into something more beautiful.
I don’t know about you, but I did not lay my head on my pillow last night and thank God for making me more beautiful yesterday. But, that is one thing that I am going to practice today. I am going to do my best to remember to thank God today for crafting me into something more beautiful through my everyday great stuff today.
“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.” Psalm 25:4 NIV.
What if today we asked God to show us how this day and it’s every day, ordinary stuff can make us more beautiful. Stuff that can help us practice living a life of love, if we work at it with all of our hearts as if serving Christ.
“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6 (NIV).
God’s goodness and love is with you today. It is with you on extraordinary days and on ordinary days. He has a special spot for you in the house of the Lord. Not just a place to visit, but a place to dwell, to stay, to reside with Him. You are a beautiful treasure and a precious gift.
May your day today be filled with everyday great stuff.
Thank You for another day. A day to mold, shape and craft us into something even more beautiful. Thank you for all of those opportunities to practice – practice love, kindness, patience and gentleness. It is in the small, the routine and the ordinary that we can serve You and others in extraordinary ways. Help us to be present in mind today to all that we are doing, instead of grumbling and complaining, so that we can work at it with all of our hearts to serve You.
You are so amazing God. I pray that each of my readers would be reminded of Your promises for them today. Promises that Your goodness and love is with them where ever they are at and through whatever circumstances are facing them in this day.
With our eyes upon You and our hearts turned to You, we pray in Jesus name, Amen