"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering." (Romans 12:1, MSG)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The other six days...

The title of this blog post is borrowed from a wonderful book by R. Paul Stevens that bears the same title. I explained a few blogs ago that the name for my blog, Every day, ordinary worship, was inspired in large part by Eugene Peterson's paraphrase of the apostle Paul's words in Romans chapter 12, verses 1 and 2. You should know that the crux of Stevens' book served as inspiration as well.
Of what it means to do what he calls people theology, Stevens writes:
"So a theology of the whole people of God must expound the unity of the people of God, exploring the meaning of the dispersed life, as well as the gathered life, of the people of God." (p. 9) 
I remember sitting in a small group book study in my church several years ago (before I discerned my call to ordained ministry), struggling with the meaning of my "dispersed life." I felt like I didn't know how to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ in my workplace and that in the busy-ness of my "other six days" God was getting what was leftover from my life.  

I think that is why I now find myself so particularly drawn to the idea of my "every day, ordinary life" playing such a significant role in my worship of God.  Nearly anything I do, except sin, can be done in a way that brings glory, honor, and praise to God.  We are called to love God and love neighbor, right?  So, if we love God through our work (faithfully performing the tasks set before us and giving thanks to God for the provision we are given in return) while loving our neighbor (our co-workers, customers, etc.), doesn't that honor God? Can we go so far as to call it "ministry"? I think so. 

Consider also these words from Stevens:
"It is holy ministry to play with one's children or to listen to a friend." (p. 104)
I LOVE that! If playing with our children or listening to a friend can be considered "holy ministry," think of all the other things we do in our every day, ordinary lives that might also be considered "holy ministry."

It is my fervent prayer that the people of God I am called to share life with come to realize that they are all ministers of the gospel and that they embrace their "holy ministries" with the whole of their every day, ordinary lives.  I pray that, as my dear friend Steve Harper recently wrote in his blog (which I encourage you to read here), our journey together as the people of God "allows us to find and follow God's will in the daily round - the grace which enables us to experience God in the ordinary."

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