Drawing a line
'The most important part of being a Christian is turning up to church on a Sunday.'
'Worship is something only experienced when we participate in music together.'
'As I grow in bible knowledge I draw closer to God.'
These statements draw a stark line between the sacred and the mundane. It feels very natural to draw this line.
Who hasn't felt the desire to do something special for God? Who hasn't felt refreshed at some point after hearing a bible talk? Who hasn't felt unspiritual and wished to be more prayerful, disciplined, or knowledgeable? It makes the special times seem very valuable â and the mundane times?
Well, we can't spend all our time worshipping, can we?
An expanded view
Actually, the seemingly insignificant parts of our daily life are just as important to God. The ordinary is sacred too. If Jesus is Lord of all things, he is also Lord of the traffic jam, the playing with kids, and the doing of taxes. Our God is so immeasurably great, vast and in charge. Of course He is Lord of small things too!
However, the line does exist. I am not saying everything one might do is sacred. Having a bath does not count as the Lord's work. I am saying that whatever you do, do it in a way that will glorify God.
If you are at work â work hard and honestly, working for the good of clients and workmates. If you are at home; love your family well and seek to bless them. If you are at church, be more than physically present, engage with the message and look out for those who are new or struggling.
Be a blessing everywhere, and remember that the gospel is the best gift that you can give. Seek to give it.
My opening statements are half-truths. I offer you a revised list, one that is ungainly, but closer to the truth.
'Attending church is important because of what happens there â the fellowship, and the encouragement to obey God.'
'Making music together is one of many great ways to respond to and acknowledge who God is.'
'I am no closer to God when I am reading the bible than at any other time â it is the death and resurrection of Jesus that brings me close to God.'
God cares about all we are and do. Whether you are in the workplace, a place of learning, at home, at the shops, travelling, or on holiday â God is still sovereign and deserves our obedience.
One small step, one giant leap
Being faithful in small things is a big task. To make every aspect of life subject to God's good will is not the easy option, nor the natural one, given our rebellious nature.
The scale of our efforts is not important as God considers our hearts: are we trusting him or relying on our own logistical abilities, our marketing and our impressiveness? It is freeing to think we don't have to put on a Billy Graham style concert to please God. It is just as valid to prayerfully seek to share the gospel with people we know.
Seeking to be faithful in everything will mean we will no longer pretend to be perfect. We must be faithful in confession as well. Moreover, we will be looking less to ourselves and more to God, who makes the real change happen.
God's sovereignty speaks to our weaknesses. Some seek to withdraw from the world out of fear that they will be tempted and fall. They think holiness requires being cut off from society at large. If that is the case, how will anyone hear the life giving message? We have to take a leap of faith and trust God's claim that he is the one who's really in charge.
It is liberating to remember that God is merciful and forgives us when we slip up. All too often I am too wrapped up in my own irritation to be compassionate. I am too tired to be patient, too insecure to be considerate. But God is gracious. He does not abandon us to our struggles or condemn us when we try, and fail. It is even his spirit working in us to make us willing and able to obey him!
Matthew Joils was created by God and he is In Christ. He is studying toward a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Filmmaking at the University of Canterbury. He is involved in the Christian Union on Campus. Sometimes he earns money in the hospitality industry; sometimes he does theatre stuff, gardens, and bakes.
Matthew Joils' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/matthew-joils.html