Monday, September 9, 2013

Easy TO do. Easy NOT to do. It Still Matters.

"What did you do today?" might be something that my family would hear me say a few thousand times in their lifetimes.

When I ask that question I am not asking in a condescending tone rather I am wondering what elements made up their whole day. I think I am actually interested; but am I? 

If the answer were to come back listing a few of the same things that had been the answer for the past 7 or 30 days it would probably not be too long and I would stop asking. But often times people don't answer that question because they know the person asking doesn't really care that they washed 4 loads of laundry, scrubbed 3 toilets, changes 14 diapers, wrote 5 proposals, made 50 phone calls, washed the car...

It's similar to when we ask someone in passing, "How are you doing?". We don't really expect them to answer fully.

But in real life isn't the answer to this question what makes up our life? We want to be able to answer things like "I won the Boston Marathon", "I had a corporate takeover deal go through", "I lost 50 lbs", "My kid just got a job working for the president of ______" and those kinds of things, but that isn't really what makes up our life.

You may have canned 50 quarts of tomatoes today but without the everyday work going into cultivation, planting, weeding, watering and waiting there would be no tomatoes to harvest. It's the everyday of life that nearly all of the world's best work is done. Simple daily disciplines that are easy to do and easy not to do that change what our life looks like in 20-30 years or over our lifetime.

"The tall mountain-peaks lift their glittering crests into the clouds, and win attention and admiration. But it is in the great valleys and broad plains, that the harvests grow and the fruits ripen, on which the millions of earth feed their hunger.

In the same way, it is not from the few great and conspicuous deeds of life that the blessings chiefly come which make the world better, sweeter, holier--but from the countless lowly ministries of the every-days, the little faithfulnesses that fill long years." JR Miller

How true this is. We want to be on the mountain tops all the time. We want to be in the winner's circle every minute of every day but the reality is that it takes a lot of unnoticed preparation and work to get to the winner's circle in the first place. 

I haven't met anyone who loves being down in the valley for months on end and the only thing that keeps us going in those times is knowing that there is going to come a time when we will get to see the view from closer to the top but those times below are what help us enjoy the view all the more when we do finally get higher up the peak.

At the end of our lives we will look back and see a few mountain tops but those are going to be dots scattered very randomly and sporadically with lots of cloudy days in between. 

In a survey done with people who lived to be at least 100 the most common thing was a positive attitude. Life is hard and sometimes it seems like there is little point to this grind and yet there is a point. When we are faithful in little things we are given more. The way faith is increased is the same way that muscles are increased; use and stretching. It's not the most fun process in the moment but it is the way that we grow.

So today, if your life seems boring and you don't get to tell your friends you got the biggest deal of the month or that you scored the winning run, or, or, or, don't worry about that. The thing that we need to keep in mind is if we are being faithful in the little things today then God will take care of the rest.

Easy to say, harder to remember. Easy to do and easy not to do but worth it when we accomplish it even if we are the only ones that know we did it. 

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