The Discipline of Work

I have been known, at times, to lose sight of the beauty of my life as it is now and to become consumed with boredom and wishing for something that I hope will be. These quotes, from Elisabeth Elliot's Discipline: The Glad Surrender speak to that attitude.
I once heard a formula guaranteed to prevent boredom: it is to have
1. Something to do
2. Someone to love
3. Something to look forward to
The Christian has all these in Christ: work, a Master, a hope. Yet how easily we forget this. One of the results of the Fall is that we lose sight of the meaning of things and begin to see the world as dull and opaque, instead of charged with glory. What other people are doing looks much more interesting and exciting than what we have to do. There is no "magic" in
my routine, we think--but hers looks enviable.
It is wrong to draw so many distinctions between what we can't "get out of" doing--that is, what is necessary for survival--and what we choose to do. The eight-hour-daily job for which we are being paid is a duty as well as a physical necessity. Many of the things we do "after work," unless we are demoniacally selfish people, are work, too, often for others. Are they so different in God's eyes? I doubt it.
. . ."We shall not make any wild claims," Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "but simply judge ourselves by that line of duty which God has marked out for us, and that line includes our work on your behalf. We do not exceed our duty when we embrace your interests, for it was our preaching of the gospel which brought us into contact with you. Our pride is not in matters beyond our proper sphere, nor in the labours of other men."
What is our "proper sphere"? We cannot dismiss the fact of modern life: there are indeed many choices when it comes to discerning that sphere. Let us rest assured that God knows how to show His will to one who is willing to do it. The place to begin discovering the larger sphere is in the smaller one--in the willingness to say yes to every demand that the need of a neighbor makes us face.
. . .If our work seems to be beneath us, if it becomes boring and meaningless, mere drudgery, it may be a living, but it is not living. It is not the life of freedom and fullness a disciple's life is designed to be.
Does God ask us to do what is beneath us? This question will never trouble us again if we consider the Lord of heaven taking a towel and washing feet.

No comments: