Friday, March 1, 2013

Drudgery Gets a Bad Rap

While we were sleeping last night, our calendars flipped to a new month.  March is here!  I like March for so many reasons but my favorite is that Spring arrives later this month! I believe many of us are ready for winter to be over. Those of us who aren’t fans of winter don’t dislike the season just for the cold weather; it’s just that everything seems to stop.  It’s like God decided that we needed to hibernate. There are less hours of sunlight.  Almost everything outside has died leaving very little color on the landscape.  By the end of winter, life itself seems to slow down almost to a pace we could call drudgery.  No wonder all God’s creation explodes with life when spring arrives. 

But this year is a little different.  I’m still waiting on spring, but for some reason, God is trying to teach me (and possibly you) that drudgery isn’t always a bad thing.  God is right.  (Isn’t HE always?)  We DO need a time of hibernation; a time to slow down and recharge.  However, our culture rages against the notion.  As I often say, we have evolved into a people obsessed with a never-ending pursuit of all that is fun.  We seem to run away from the mundane, the routine – the drudgery of everyday life.  And we have passed this down to our kids, who have become creatures with no imagination and have to be entertained every waking minute.  This is one of the main reasons the next generation has shown signs of being quitters.  The second something becomes routine, they quit and look for something else to do until they get bored with that.  We’ve lost the art of endurance and our kids are following suit.  We quit marriages, church, jobs, God.  Our kids quit friendships, sports teams, church, God.  God says to endure and persevere, but many times we do the opposite.  I see it even in social media.  Facebook posts have become nothing more than people trying to make the ordinary events of their day sound extraordinary.  Almost like we’re embarrassed that our lives don’t resemble what we see on T.V. shows or in commercials.     

So how did drudgery get such a bad rap?  If you think about it - isn’t most of our life spent doing basically the same things, day in and day out?  If we’re only experiencing God in the every now and then “super” events, then we’re simply missing too many God moments.  The great theologian Oswald Chambers wrote a timeless classic called “My Utmost For His Highest” and in it he says that “drudgery is one of the finest touchstones of character there is.”  Think about that statement for a minute.  It makes sense that if the world around us is dark, we can allow God’s light to shine even more brightly in us when we’re serving Him with a cheerful, thankful heart right in the middle of that darkness; right in the middle of all that seems routine – boring, thankless, drudgery, if you will.  And if we will arise and shine, drudgery becomes divinely transfigured!  In fact, when the Lord does a thing through us, He always transfigures it!  Drudgery is all that we do that’s apart from the ideal.  The same job with the same people, every day.  Changing the same diapers and cleaning the same house. Enduring another class with a teacher/instructor/professor that seems even more bored with their job than you are with their class!  And on it goes.  Endurance isn’t easy.  It does require the inspiration of God to go through drudgery with the light of God upon it – but that inspiration is available to all of us!  Once we start doing the everyday events of life with God’s light shining on them, they take on a special new meaning.  Chambers put it this way: “After we have seen someone do the most commonplace things with God’s inspiration, those things look different!”   I agree.  Colossians 3:23 says that we should do EVERYTHING we do as if for the Lord, and not for man.  And everything, means even the most menial tasks.  So let’s embrace the drudgery in the light of God’s inspiration.  If not, we’ll miss out on way more than just fun!

- Scott Limerick
Worship Pastor, BCC