Do you remember off the top of your head when Jesus laid aside his garments, girded himself with a towel, and washed the disciple’s feet?
Jesus performed this mean service for His disciples just before Judas left to betray Him. One of the final lessons Jesus taught the disciples was to elevate drudgery and diminish the spectacular.
“For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” – John 13:15-17
Greatest Tests of Christian Faith
Handling the mundane or repetitive tasks of normal life present the greatest tests of Christian faith. Have you ever wondered whether your faith is strong enough to move a mountain? When was the last time God asked you to move a mountain?
This morning I registered an unfamiliar weariness of spirit. My husband is recovering from major surgery and is doing far better than anyone expected. This is not a surprise and we were not concerned about a circumstance that usually knocks folks on their heels. Our faith knows that God is as faithful in the big things as He is in the small.
Frequently I learn the state of my spirit when I listen to what I pray. That may sound odd to some, but I don’t pre-plan my conversations with God. By stream of conscious, or perhaps sub-conscious, I discover where I am for the day. Today I listened to the prayer of someone who was tired.
Faith in the power of God made getting through the past few weeks of hospitals, doctors, and a radical change in schedule a piece of cake (for me.) My husband has pretty much been in the same place even though he was impacted in a far different way than me. Am I tired because of something big? Hardly.
The last three books I wrote were a progressive learning experience with increasing responsibility. Never was there any question on my part what each was about or what the title would be. The messages were clear and I struggled in different ways through each one, I never doubted the direction. The book I’m trying to finish has been in the works for over a year. It has changed and morphed several times. In fact, there is another separate manuscript on my desk ready to move forward. I thought I was ready to go to edit late last fall. Not. I was sent back to the beginning and only now begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel once more.
Whether you write books, teach school, compose music, or shovel gravel – sometimes you just get tired. But there are different kinds of ‘tired.’
From my fatigue I appealed for help to get through this last revision before going to the editor. “O Lord, I am so tired of working on this. I can’t wait to get it off my desk so I can move on.” Immediately I remembered that spiritual fatigue is the result of working from our own power and strength and not drawing from the well of daily provision by the Holy Spirit. Each day we wear ourselves out and each morning we are renewed.
The temptation to look ahead is common to all. If only I can get this project or period of drudgery complete I can move on to something better. Jesus Christ performed the meanest of tasks for His disciples and did move on – to the cross.
Blessed are the Common
Life is an endless series of common and repetitive tasks. How we approach and perform them defines our walk with Christ. The mother who serves her husband and children faithfully may be placed in a higher position at the Lamb’s banquet table than the most popular television evangelist. The father who labors in a factory for forty years to provide for his family may be a greater saint than the most gifted Christian writer.
Jesus gave us the example and the lesson. The great in this world are the least and the least in this world the greatest. It is far more important to do the chores and tasks well in my barn and office than to write, speak, or teach others how to make improvements.
The only reason I write books is because I don’t perceive any other option. I would rather spend time with my horses challenging the heights of relationship with them than study, write, revise, labor over sentence structure, and hope that the message I share finds the ear intended. There is more drudgery writing a book than running a barn. I would rather be in the barn.
Obedience is a Choice with an Eternal Reward for Making the Right One
Writing this book is a task I have been assigned. What happens as a result of writing it is God’s business – my bit is to simply do as He asks. Obedience and delight in the tasks and interactions of each day is our journey. The quality of our life is the sum of the quality of our days.
Washing feet or editing a book. Cleaning house or preparing a Bible study lesson. Washing laundry or accepting an Oscar. Punching a clock or discovering a new star. The adulation of the world is often evidence of failure in the spiritual. What is of value, what is good, what is eternal, and what is faithful depends on God’s vision, not our own.
Blessed by Grace – Embrace the “Lower” Calling
This book is the stuff of an ordinary day. Horses used to be my assigned task. I was the professional, the trainer, the judge, and the one in the center of the arena. Now horses are my teachers and my reward. Spiritual fatigue is the result of seeking something different, more inspirational, more exciting, more fun! There is plenty of opportunity in our days for the unique and the exciting. But first we must do as our Master expects and gave example. Before doing the most important thing ever done in the history of the world Jesus washed feet.
“It takes Almighty grace to take the next step when there is no vision and no spectator – the next step in devotion, the next step in your study, in your reading, in your kitchen, the next step in your duty, when there is no vision of God, no enthusiasm and no spectator. It takes far more of the grace of God, far more conscious drawing upon God to take that step than it does to preach the Gospel.” – Oswald Chambers
The question of whether your faith is great enough to move a mountain may be interesting, but the important question is whether you have faith enough for the next common step? Draw upon the endless well of God’s grace.
The book was finished and published in July. And my dear husband is fully recovered. What hasn’t changed is somehow we manage to end each day tired – but not spiritually depleted. At least not on the days when we remember to go to the Source for the power to continue.