Thursday, May 24, 2012

Is Peeling Potatoes Spiritual?

Photo Catholiclane.com



I remember when I was young (some time ago) that I thought serving God surely meant being a missionary in deepest, darkest Africa (or South America) or being a pastor or chalk artist evangelist. Not that I'm an artist, but I remember how impressed I was with the chalk artist evangelist at our summer Bible camp. I think everyone walked down the aisle that night because we were so moved by the amazing pictures he drew. And then he turned a special light on them which made certain things in the scene really pop out. It was incredible, and I'll never forget it.

Then I got older. I realized that although being a missionary in a foreign land had a certain exotic mystique to it, the real test came in trying to live my life daily as a Christ follower - the nuts and bolts of everyday living.

I spent a year in Bolivia when I was 19-20. I worked with Wycliffe Bible Translators. I saw firsthand that being a missionary didn't mean people were any better or kinder or more pleasant in their daily lives. There was still bickering, gossip, arrogance, etc. Why? Because missionaries are HUMAN too.

Our friends' Bible study has been reading a book, Being Human, by Ranald Macaulay. (He's the son-in-law of Francis Schaeffer, for those of you who might not be aware of that). I'm quoting a kinda long passage here, but it's one that I think is pretty important to the Christ follower, reminding us that spirituality doesn't just involve pastorhood or missionary(hood?) or what, in evangelical Christian circles is often called 'full-time Christian ministry.'  We are ALL called to full-time Christian ministry, whether our job is in construction work or rearing children or teaching school or gardening or working as a checkout at the local grocery store.



From the book, Being Human, by Ranald Macaulay:

"Spirituality involves the whole of human life; nothing is nonspiritual. But where Platonism has affected Christian teaching, there has been a separation of the sacred and secular. Thus, prayer, worship, evangelism, and 'the ministry' are thought to be sacred. All other activities are secular. The sacred is said to be more spiritual...

"This mentality subtly affects Christian thinking in numerous ways. For example, someone might say, 'If only I could be involved in something really spiritual like witnessing rather than peeling these potatoes.' The New Testament stands absolutely against this division of life into more and less spiritual sections. Consider Ephesians 5:18 We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit continuously. How is this to be expressed? In singing psalms and hymns and thinking of others' needs as we submit to one another in the ordinary everyday relationships of husband and wife,  parent and child, employer and employee. This is what it means to be filled with the Spirit.

"Paul says elsewhere that we are to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:17). All we do is to be done under the lordship of Christ - even washing floors. Everything we do as human beings is spiritually important. There is no sacred and secular.

"This does not mean merely that we see practical value in 'secular' tasks like peeling potatoes and washing the floor. It means far more: God himself delights in them because he has created the realm of the physical. Therefore, we are to value every part of our lives just as he does. In fact, spirituality is to be expressed primarily in the ordinary everyday affairs and relationships of our lives."


And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. - Colossians 3:17

So as you go about your work today, whether it's gardening or teaching or nursing or spending time with a friend, or playing softball -  remember that we're living in Christ's Kingdom. He is Lord of all. And ALL we do is to be done to his glory. 'There is no sacred and secular.'


This post is linked to http://intentional.me


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17 comments:

Denise said...

Amen.

Jenn said...

Beautiful post, Judy!

Cherry's Prairie Primitives said...

Very beautiful!!

Sandra said...

since i spent my childhood peeling those potatoes, and feeling put upon because i HAD to, i was screaming NO it is not spiritual. but by the time i finished reading i can see where it is spiritual. all of this reminded me of a quote i saw on a blog last week, everything we do matters.
great post.

Yenta Mary said...

Amen! It's not about having a special calling or being particularly saintly; it's about following the message to the best of our ability every moment - how we treat our loved ones, how we treat strangers, being our brothers'/sisters' keeper, all of that. Appreciating the gifts - from sunshine and babies to cherries and potatoes - and being thankful and respectful. Each moment, we're given a choice of how to behave, and it's up to us to make the right choice each time ....

Vera @ Cozy Little Cabin said...

Love this and oh, so true.

I once remember someone asking me if I though their particular could be spiritual. . . my reply? "It's ALL spiritual!"

Have a blessed weekend!

RebeccaT said...

Thank you Judy for such a meaningful post, every little tiny thing we do matters!!

Pam Lofton said...

We had a minister when the lovelies were growing up (he and his wife are still our dearest friends) who used to tell us that all the time! Too bad I never remember it. :)

EM Illustrator said...

Lovely post, as usual!

Vera said...

Amen! I know I'm guilty of waiting for the "more spiritual" when it's all spiritual.

Carla said...

Great post! I have been caught in this trap, feeling what I do does not matter.
Thank you for reminder!

Chatty Crone said...

Very interesting - I have learned a lot more about you. sandie

Alia Joy said...

So true! I am a missionary kid and I was in missions for a bit when I was younger and it is often seen as glamorous work, but in reality it is just servanthood and messiness and sin and real life all wound up on foreign soil. We serve God wherever we are, even peeling potatoes. Love this post. I linked up after you on Intentional Me and I'm so glad I did. Thanks.

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

Wee said...You are a gifted writer.

debbie bailey said...

If more people really took this to heart, wouldn't the world be a better place? And people would be so much more content and not always looking for 'the something else out there'. The kingdom of God is within. Great post, Judy!

Under Her Wings said...

Thanks for that wonderful and encouraging post, Judy. What a joy it is to know that even though we may not be in "deepest, darkest Africa," our lives, the day to day grind, is important to the glory of the Lord. Now, to remember that as we go about our daily grind, it is all important for His glory, therefore we must live in that regard. Love the Macaulay quote.

J_on_tour@jayzspaze said...

Well written & thanks for the insight into your background.
In church today as part of Pentecost sunday we were encouraged to think of reasons why we're here. It seems appropriate that this post is loosely linked to what I heard with reference to living normal lives with a nod towards the Great Commission.

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