Something (well, three verses in particular) struck me in the last service. Right in the face (of note, face has been my word of the day today). They are (I learned because it was pointed out) both imperative statements. Things to do because of our victory through Jesus. Things to do to demonstrate our faith and serve our Lord.
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. 1 Corinthians 15:58.
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14.
Besides this being yet another chunk where the Bible tells you what to do or not do, what does this really have to do with anything? Why did this bit strike me?
I like practical things. I get annoyed when people ask superficial questions that are answered directly in the passage. I get annoyed at discussions about the differences in wording in a certain passage or why something might not mean what it looks like. I am not saying I hate really getting into the meat of something, but I hate when people seem to miss out on something obviously there or try to look for something that probably is not.
Sometimes, when people look for practical applications in the Bible, I get annoyed. The whole thing is practical. That is the point.
But these imperatives really bring out the practical. They are succinct, blunt and basically say how we need to behave. I like that.
But what I liked even more was something the pastor drew attention to. Something I know but something I struggle with. Something that is said in the verses, but is not always obvious on a surface level.
These things are ways of being faithful. Of living out faith. And the cool part is that being faithful does not simply consist of the big stuff. The healings and giving big gifts and doing the obvious. Being faithful to Jesus also happens in the mundane.
The pastor actually used the word “mundane.” I was glad he did. That made it make sense to me. And I totally see it in these verses. That nothing you do for the Lord is useless. That standing firm, being strong and courageous is not just in the giant scary times but even in the every day average times. But, had he not used the word mundane, I am not sure I would have picked up on how big these verses are.
I sometimes feel trapped in the mundane.
I work an average of 60-70 hours per week. Like most jobs, sometimes things are very routine and can be full of going through the motions (I know, this is totally shocking after the exciting world of medicine I paint on here). I am fortunate that there is much variety, every disease process can do something a bit different and, thankfully, people are so unique things do not seem monotonous. But, there is still a ton of paperwork to plow through, meetings to sit in on and all that good stuff. Plus, I have the whole school/studying side. I love to learn. But, sometimes reading books and journal articles, preparing presentations and all that good stuff in your “spare” time gets aggravating.
Plus, I am still a wife. And I want to be a good wife. The kind that keeps a clean house, cooks proper meals and such. Laundry never ends. The house gets messy as soon as it looks clean. Cooking a good meal one day is awesome, but you still need to eat the day after that.
Some days I feel trapped in a work, cook, study sleep cycle. I feel like I am doing nothing “great” for God. In fact, I just feel like I am spinning my wheels.
But that is where the whole mundane thing comes in.
I know my life is not boring by any means. But, monotony does set in (but when yo switch rotations every four weeks, it can’t linger too long). Sometimes, I feel like I am just going through the motions. That most of what I do makes no difference.
I have heard over and over again that “whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than men.” (Colossians 3:23) But, I forget. And these verses reminded me.
But the mundane bit is what struck me. I tell myself I know it is everything, but really when I read “do,” I think of employment, like when we ask people, “What do you do?” meaning what is your vocation.
It blows my mind that when I am serving others in ways like navigating laundry heaps, making my husband supper or studying to be a better doctor that I am serving the Lord.
I have to admit that I don’t always do this stuff in love. That I am not always thinking about God when I do it. Sometimes, I am resenting the person who gave me the assignment, or my husband for being messy or my friend for being needy. That really isn’t how or why I should do these things. It doesn’t say I have to always “want” to do them, but I do need to adjust my focus… God and love. Such is a life of serving God.
I found myself this afternoon wasting time staring at our tax return and being bitter about the work I have to get done. And then I remembered this passage. The whole mundane thing. That these things do matter and do have purpose. That when I do them in love and with a serving attitude they are serving God.
That is pretty cool.
Does it make me enjoy them more?
Not that much. But maybe a little because trying to be enthusiastic, loving and Christ focused helps.
And then there is the whole be strong, firm, etc. chunk. I just like hearing them. I like the reminders. I need the reminders. I feel like I have been waffling on this stuff lately because things have been overwhelming and busy. I think you need to be on guard for things that deceive, that you need to be strong, not just in times of trouble, but in good times too, that being firm in your faith can help these thing along. And that this combination can make the mundane seem maybe a bit less mundane.
I feel like all of this calls for a song that basically says what I just said to wrap things up…