“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23, NIV 2011).
Sometimes this world weighs me down, just like it does everyone else. I am completing two straight months of attending the consult service in our hospital with the two to three extra hours a day it requires. The margin in my life has been gone so long I’ve forgotten what letter it starts with. I’ve gotten so much behind in things I need to do that I leave work early rather than starting any of them. Normal life for many of us—and God expects me to be Christian in all of this.
I was recently talking to one of my Christian gastroenterologist friends who has taken a sabbatical from his work to seek the Lord’s next plan for his life. He asked me how he could pray for me. I told him about my over busy life and my desire to do God’s will within it. He paused for a moment and then responded, “I am going to pray that God will give you focus.”
I am not complaining about living an over-busy life, nor do I feel guilty about it. I just don’t know how to be Christian within it. I am so focused on so many important things that I only occasionally find Jesus in the midst of it all. I feel close to Him during morning devotions, evening prayers and weekends away from work, but how do I bring Him into the bulk of my day? Perhaps if I do less work or get the work done sooner, I will have more time to get to what God wants me to do. But that would be missing the boat.
In his Letters and Papers from Prison, Bonhoeffer spoke of the profound this-worldliness of Christianity: “It always seems to me that we are trying anxiously to reserve some space for God. I should like to speak of God not on the boundaries but at the center….”
As Christians, we often look at the bulk of our lives as something we must get through in order to do God’s work and feel God’s presence; that God’s work is on the boundary of things that must be completed in order to get to it. Not so, according to Bonhoeffer. The very center of the bulk of our lives is where God wants to be, where He wants us to “focus” on Him and bear witness through the weight and busyness of it all. Those other times of lesser stress on the boundaries of our days and boundaries of our work are necessary times of respite, creativity and devotion. But the life we can best offer to God is within the every day bulk of it all, focused on Him in the midst of the normal craziness.
Let Jesus live through me when I am working my tail off.