This is for all of us who’re beginning to wonder what on earth we’re doing – for us who once believed that our lives had a grander purpose than present reality would suggest. We were supposed to change the world, not diapers; we were to walk on water, not tread the daily commute; our destiny was to become a fisher of men, not the keeper of one man (or woman). When God first took hold of us, our hearts were warmed by whispered promises of what He’d accomplish through our lives but all of that feels snuffed out now by the drudgery of the daily (read boring) routine of life …and ‘selfless’ service.
So for those of us who are (or were) at that place, here’s a thought.. A greater part of our walk with God plays out in the hidden, often unnoticed and un-applauded choices we make in the back rooms of our lives. What’s that got to do with anything I said in the first paragraph? Everything. If we take a closer look at it, our dreams for our future are preoccupied with two concerns- one is scale, the other is, audience (the onlookers!). Curtsying to God’s ovation echoing off of the walls of an empty auditorium is not quite what we hand in mind..and that for half a line in the entire play??!
And yet didn’t Jesus say -pray in secret, fast in secret, give in secret? In fact, He said that we should give in such a way, that our right hand is unaware of what our left hand in doing! In short, we are to live to God without an audience .. without even the ever present audience of self. But how difficult it is for us to do even the former thing -for us, who are so hopelessly addicted to needing acknowledgement for every single good thing that we do. Think about that time your heart burnt with indignation when they didn’t say thank you or left you out from the praise -list and plain didn’t ‘see’ your hardworking contribution to the cause! Truly, how difficult it is to sign ‘anonymous’ over the ‘great’ works of our lives! But dear friend, these occasions of being overlooked, of feeling that you’re in the darkness, left on the sidelines of the parade is an invitation into that sacred, private world of seeking God and living for his applause and pleasure alone.
There’s great gain to be had in this hidden seeking – great freedom and great delight! It’s a bit like silently giggling over a private joke that nobody else in the room is aware of…the gleeful knowledge of sharing something that’s wholly between you and Him! For God as we well know is more concerned about the heart than ‘appearance’ or indeed anything else. That’s what makes the whole of the spiritual life ( yeah a 100 percent of it) very, very, private indeed! Once we get this – that the ‘stage’ is in the ‘backroom’ and not in the ‘front courtyard’, it changes the whole game. The spotlight turns within, and small choices with no apparent gain become joy-filled offerings to the Lord. And then other things change too – you do things out of love, not because you want a pat on your back. and then you don’t smart at everyone else’s apparent ‘insensitivity’!
But the biggest change I think is that we begin to realize that while there may be a ‘bigger’ purpose to our lives, it never really gets ‘bigger’ than love – and that purpose has opportunity for expression in every single day and in every single nook of our lives!
Which brings me to this question (one I’ve often thought about) – if God were to run a highlighter over our life-works, which ones do you think He’d pick? Would scrubbing the grime out of our hubby’s shirt- collars out-win preaching at church? Would forgiving a friend outweigh leading hundreds into the forgiveness that God freely offers in Christ? God knows. But this I know, He is looking at me and you right now in this moment and you can change what you are doing, thinking, feeling right in this moment into a grand, praise-filled work for God.
More to come..