Live From Your True Self (Wednesday)
Today's devotional comes from "Falling Into Goodness," a book of Lenten reflections by Chuck DeGroat. You can purchase the entire book on Amazon in paperback or for Kindle.
God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. Gen 1:28
Among Western Americans, Wednesday is hump-day. For those of us whose work week begins on Monday, there is the dreaded moment when the alarm sounds and the perpetual routine begins again – shower and clothes, hair and makeup, lunch and laptop, and…where are my keys? Hump-day is a half-way house of sorts, a glimpse of light on the horizon. So, how are you feeling on this hump-day?
Sadly, work is often treated as the price we pay for days off, a vacation to Florida, and the just-not-enough paycheck. Some dread it and cut corners as best they can. Others cope by trying to conquer it. Coffee sustains. Dreaming of Friday gets us over the hump. And we hit repeat.
And yet, consider this in light of Lent: your work connects you to the ground, to your ground. Whether you make latte’s or trade stocks, design roadways or raise children, your work is an invitation to your creaturely humanity – your body, your hands, your sweat, your intuition, your participation in something beyond you.
Yes, I’m familiar with work’s curse in Genesis 3. But I’m thinking of work’s blessing in Genesis 1. I’m thinking of you – the God-imaged you – made to fill and subdue, created to exercise God’s ambassadorship, to name, to bless, and to care for. I’m thinking of the opportunity to bring your whole self to a particular task, like the guy who mowed my lawn one summer once did.
He probably didn’t know I was watching him, but I was. He was just another member of the crew, but he mowed like he owned the company. He steered that wide deck, stand-on mower around our yard with precision and authority, creating his signature circular patterns with delight. When he finished, he’d step away to admire his workmanship, take in the smell of freshly cut grass, and (I’m quite sure) give thanks for the job. His admiration was not rushed. He was not on to the next lawn. No, he lingered, if only to notice a spot he missed or to gather a few fallen tree branches. Somehow his work was a connection to something deep, good, and original in creation. He taught me a lot that day.
Have dominion, God says. Exercise your image-bearing wherever you are, as the royalty I’ve made you to be. Be my ambassador, no matter whether you preach sermons or punt footballs, flip burgers or finance startups. How great a tragedy it would be to fail to see your beauty, your creativity, your humanity shining in the ordinary stuff of life.
To be sure, this is not an invitation to settle – to settle for abusive labor or indignity, to settle for work that erodes your closest relationships and kills your soul. However, Lent may be just the season to slow down and consider what your work means. Where has God placed you? What is it teaching you? How are you exercising your ambassadorship? What beauty or dignity are you bringing into your unique space in the world? How is Christ present in the ordinariness?
In fact, Christ delights in the ordinary. Ordinary work. Ordinary you, waking up each day into gratitude for the gift of breathing Spirit-life into every space and every place you meander.
Creator God, you designed me to be your image-bearing ambassador in whatever I do and wherever I go. I cannot imagine it! Sometimes, I wonder if what I do even matters. I pray that Christ would show up in me and through me in ordinary ways breathing Spirit-life into every space and place I meander. For the sake of your Kingdom, Amen