17.9.08

Ordinary Service

I'm sure I'm not the only one who sometimes struggles with desiring to serve God in bigger, more impressive ways, to accomplish more than the usual tasks that make up an ordinary day.

I'm not talking about healthy desire to serve God and accomplish more through His strength - but rather discontent with what He has called us to do today.

Case in point: For the past year I've worked with my sister in our own business - cleaning houses, cooking meals, and providing transportation or companionship for seniors. I love to sit and have coffee and chat with lonely seniors who may not be able to get out much, but believe me when I say that scrubbing toilets is not always my idea of a good time! The relationship-building part of my job is what I enjoy best, and I pray that God will use me for His purposes in this area, but sometimes the cleaning feels... just not significant enough.

There are so many other things that I would like to do someday - do more with my writing, be more involved in evangelism and discipleship, travel, be a wife and mom - things that often seem much more appealing than the tasks that I've been called to today. That's where battling discontentment comes in! I'm slowly learning that there is really no such thing as an "ordinary" task when it is done in service to God...

I picked up My Utmost for His Highest the other evening and the day's reading addressed this subject (being content to do "ordinary tasks") so well:

"Ministering in everyday opportunities that surround us does not mean that we select our own surroundings— it means being God’s very special choice to be available for use in any of the seemingly random surroundings which He has engineered for us. The very character we exhibit in our present surroundings is an indication of what we will be like in other surroundings.

The things Jesus did were the most menial of everyday tasks, and this is an indication that it takes all of God’s power in me to accomplish even the most common tasks in His way. Can I use a towel as He did? Towels, dishes, sandals, and all the other ordinary things in our lives reveal what we are made of more quickly than anything else. It takes God Almighty Incarnate in us to do the most menial duty as it ought to be done...

Do you find yourself responding by saying, 'Oh, I will do all that once I’m out on the mission field'? Talking in this way is like trying to produce the weapons of war while in the trenches of the battlefield--you will be killed while trying to do it. We have to go the "second mile" with God (see Matthew 5:41 ). Yet some of us become worn out in the first ten steps. Then we say, 'Well, I’ll just wait until I get closer to the next big crisis in my life.' But if we do not steadily minister in everyday opportunities, we will do nothing when the crisis comes."

I'm reminded that, as a servant, it's not up to me to choose where and how I will serve God. I'm not always given the reason for a particular circumstance. Sometimes the why is revealed and I can see the fruit that results from my service to God in the circumstances He orchestrates - my own character is refined, or a need in someone else if filled - but sometimes it remains a mystery.

I do know this, that God knows our tomorrows! He alone knows perfectly what tasks we need to do today in preparation for what He will call us to do tomorrow. Let's trust Him and accept our assignments with a thankful heart!

7 comments:

Kaysie said...

Wonderful post, Stephanie. I have the same thoughts. There is always a desire to move on to bigger better things - things that I think would be more useful to the kingdom. But God has us where we are for reasons I may never understand. Like you said, as a servant it is not for us to choose. But we build character that will last and be effective for the kingdom.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Stephanie.

A fellow toilet cleaner, :)
Kaysie

Stephanie said...

Thank you for your comment, Kaysie! It is always an encouragement to know that others are going through the same struggles. :)

Penn Tomassetti said...

This really applies to me as well, even though I'm not much of a toilet cleaner :) Thanks so much for writing this post!

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." (Colossians 3:23-24).
We need to remember who we serve, we are privileged beyond measure to serve this King! We are truly "unprofitable servants" [I mean "slaves"]!

Grace be with you in all power and might through Christ.

Stephanie said...

Don't worry about it Penn, we can't be talented in everything. :D

"We are privileged beyond measure to serve this King!"

Amen! And that's a great verse in Colossians to keep in mind.

Rita Martinez said...

Stephanie that is a lovely picture of you! :D
As for the post, we were just talking about exactly the same thing this past Monday in a Bible study I'm attending near my house. One girl was saying how reading about missionaries and Paul's ministry and the passion they have for the Lord and serving Him always made her want to serve the Lord in an extraordinary way like those missionaries who dedicate their lives to evangelism and going to foreign countries to clothe the poor and feed the hungry. And we all concluded that we had to have that same passion and devotion for the Lord doing the, as your post says, ordinary things in life whatever they may be.
For this same reason:
"He alone knows perfectly what tasks we need to do today in preparation for what He will call us to do tomorrow."

I've been through those moments as well and I've learned that everything I do first of all should be for God's glory and second of all whatever I do for God's glory is a privilege the Lord has gracefully granted me however ordinary or extraordinary it may be.

wonderful post!
God bless you!

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the compliment Rita!
And I appreciated your thoughts on this post. :)

Edie said...

My goodness I really have fallen behind! I'm just a sponge over here today! Love ya -