Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Washing Dishes

Breezze wrote, in a comment, "Doing what's right is often just the thing that is before us that day... Ugly things... like dishes, paperwork, cleaning... etc. In those things God somehow I think organizes... changes our minds... hearts... it's weird how it happens but it does. Do you have any thoughts about that?"

Asking if I have thoughts is redundant. I have lots of thoughts. Making sense is something else entirely.

I think Wendy is on to something here. We're all running around looking for the Big Event that will Transform Our Lives Forever, but that doesn't happen often. Rescue jobs like the one God pulled with me last year are not the norm. I believe the Holy Spirit goes about His transformation work while we're about other things, the events of ordinary life. Washing the dishes, going to work, talking with friends, batting ideas around on a Blog.

One reason for this is that we are very limited. We don't have much energy, we don't have much stamina and we really can't handle a whole lot of change at once. If I lived the way many Christians expect, I'd be burned out. Change is stressful, even when it's for the good.

God has to match his pace to my capabilities. If I were a big strong man like Carl or Neil, I could do more. I'm still more like a loose collection of parts travelling in the same vicinity, and it doesn't take much to shake up the whole works. I really need a mountain bike ride right now. Some alone time to let my mind wind down. I'm just not very strong.

God doesn't expect me to be like Carl. He wants me to be Larry, which will be an interesting process of discovery because, in many ways, I have no idea who I am. The only way to discover who I am is to keep doing ordinary things and see what happens. Make mistakes and let God correct me, instead of doing it myself with deadly results.

God's way of correction brings life, not death. He's delicate, He's sensitive, and He is very precise. He also tells only the truth, and has no axe to grind. He's the Lord of the Universe, and yet isn't at all interested in forcing me to knuckle under just to prove He's stronger than I am. His only desire is to make me a perfect person.

I was thinking about this last night, how people correct each other, and was thinking that if God treated me the way most supervisors treat their workers I'd be dead. Immediately the Holy Spirit corrected me: God simply CAN NOT treat me that way! He is required, by the terms of the agreement we reached when I gave my life to Jesus, to treat me with ultimate respect. If God quits respecting me the universe will quit working.

God is honorable, completely clean and unswayed by human opinion. He has His eyes set on the future and knows what needs to be done. He will use us to the extent possible to complete His plans, and those plans work within our great limitations.

Actually, saying that God uses us is a mis-statement. I know what it's like to be used by people. They take what they want and then leave me poorer for it. When God chooses me to execute a task that He wants done, He does so because the act will be good both for me and anyone else who's involved. Now, this is a truly radical concept, but God is the master of making deals that improve the lives of everyone.

This is so odd I still have a hard time with it. I realize God is using me, and I get upset. I want to be myself, not somebody's tool. Well, with God I'm not a tool. I'm a co-worker, helped and empowered to live His way, and that life will shine forth. That's guaranteed. It will happen Shining lights draw other people in, but they also get shot at.

So, that's where we're headed in our ordinary living. As the Holy Spirit works to transform me into what God wants--and what I want--I will shine. Look out, world. I don't know what will happen, but it will be something I--the future I--will like. Wash a dish, change the world. Let the Holy Spirit do His work. He is beautiful in all His actions.

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