I could have easily declined the invitation, but I try to say yes when kids ask to play or to have a book read to them, whether I feel like it or not. Why? I've chosen a perspective that reminds me that little things are actually big things. In this instance that brief, special time between Moriah and her Pop Pops was to be my last enduring memory of her. She died two days later.
The moment seemed ordinary at the time because it was, at least in the way we usually think of ordinary. But because Moriah died shortly thereafter, the moment by the trampoline is anything but ordinary to me. Small things are actually big things. This is true even when I have a hard time choosing to embrace that perspective for other events I deem "ordinary." For example, when my 4-year-old granddaughter recently asked me to play "Hungry Hungry Hippo," I didn't feel like saying yes. However, I chose to embrace a true perspective that caused me to set up the board and try to get my hippo to gobble up more marbles than hers.
Our heavenly Father considers all His ordinary moments with us children like special times on the "trampene." These are enduring moments that He cherishes and remembers when we think to ask to do life with Him. I sometimes decline children's invitations. I have all sorts of limitations. But God has no limitations, and always He says yes when we ask Him to be with us.
Most of life is not lived in the valley nor on the mountaintop. Most of our existence is not a low or high, an up or a down. Most of our time on earth is lived on the plains, the midpoint between the ups and downs. In a word, most of life is routine. We should be thankful for this since everyday routines are amazing opportunities. Routine life gives us opportunities that change eternity.
The word "routine" is related to the word "route." It comes from a Latin word that essentially means "a beaten path." This is a great way to describe much of our lives: washing dishes, accomplishing tasks at work, picking up toys, mowing the lawn, making dinner, attending community events, changing diapers, reading to kids at bedtime, paying bills and so on.
But what is routine and ordinary from an earthly perspective is in reality jam-packed with opportunities to change eternity. In truth, most of our opportunity to live a dynamic, vibrant Christianity will be found in what we consider "ordinary."
"It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not," wrote Oswald Chambers. "We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes." This is exactly what the apostle Paul was getting at when he wrote: "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ" (Col. 3:23–24). For those hearty saints willing to perform everyday tasks "to the Lord," there is stored up "the reward of the inheritance." Jesus wants to heap great reward on faithfulness in the "whatever" category of our lives.
When you stop to think about it, you realize that "whatever you do" primarily refers to daily, routine tasks. Special crowns will be given and special places of leadership in the joy of the Master will be assigned as a result of these "ordinary" involvements (see Matthew 25:21). All this, just for faithfulness in performing temporal, earthly tasks.
You may ask, "Do you really expect me to treat changing a dirty diaper or writing an office memo as something I can do for the Lord that can result in the greatest of rewards for me?" In a word, yes. If you're willing to adopt the Bible's perspective and choose to look above the circumstances, then little things are very big things. When Paul wrote to the Colossian saints, they were just regular folks. Some of them, in fact, were household slaves (see Col. 3:22). And what was their ministry that it should reap such great reward? Plowing fields, feeding cattle, sweeping floors, cleaning bathrooms, preparing meals. And completing their tasks to the best of their ability with an eye toward God's approval. Apparently God values the routine far more than we tend to.
"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor.10:31). Once again, ". . . whatever you do" includes, for the most part, routine activities. What's more common, more routine, more overwhelmingly ordinary than eating or drinking? And that's why I believe Paul chose these two things to illustrate God's intense interest in every area of our lives.
For the believer, every area of life—from brushing one's teeth to planting a garden to making love to one's spouse to changing the car's oil—is spiritual. Period. No exceptions. There simply is no "common" task when we adopt the Bible's perspective. For every one of God's children there is an exhilarating purpose and a radical richness wrapped inside every routine activity—if we have the eyes to see it.
Excerpted from Yellow Balloons by Tim Dunn.
Tim Dunn was born and raised in the oil-rich plains of West Texas. He has a B.S. in chemical engineering. In 1996, Dunn co-founded a business now known as CrownQuest Operating and serves as CEO. He was honored as CEO of the year in the Large Company category in October 2013 by TIPRO and Texas Monthly magazine in their Top Producers program. He and his wife, Terri, live in Midland, Texas, and are the proud parents of six children and 15 grandchildren. Find out more at YellowBalloons.net, and download the free e-book here.
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