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Whatever is everything

November 29, 2010

I know Colossians 3:23-24. I’ve preached it. I quote it often to students. I quote it often to myself – usually when I’m doing housework.

Colossians 3:23-24//
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

Word is sufficiently out that I volunteer at the Elgin PADS shelter on Tuesday mornings.

The thing is, I don’t really do much.

I finish setting up the breakfast buffet, which usually means taking stuff out of the ‘frige and arranging everything else that the overnight employee just dumps on the counter. Then I sit around for an hour to an hour-and-a-half and make small talk and smile. Occasionally I get something out of the ‘frige for a guest, or microwave Pauly’s mug of water. Then I put breakfast away, and go home.

So when I hit Off instead of Snooze on my alarm one week and slept through breakfast at PADS, I knew I hadn’t created a huge inconvenience. And when I went back the next week, such was confirmed. Then, a couple weeks later, when 4:30 AM was feeling particularly dark and cold, I didn’t get up. And a couple weeks later I did it again.

They miss me. They notice when I’m gone, and they tease me the following week. But everyone gets breakfast just the same.

Then, one Tuesday morning a few weeks ago, I woke up at 4:28 AM to Colossians 3 instead of the iPhone xylophone.

It may be true that my presence in the homeless shelter on Tuesday mornings is not crucial. It may be true that my presence there is hardly even beneficial, but it still deserves excellence because I still represent the risen Christ … even at 5:30 in the morning, in November, from the end of a counter piled with day-old bread and weak coffee.

“If you want to quit it, quit it,” He told me, “but in the meantime, do it with all your heart.”

Colossians 3 could have said, “Do your work heartily … ” or “Do what you’re called to do heartily …” or “Fulfill God’s calling on your life heartily …” but it doesn’t. In the infinite wisdom of the Godhead, Colossians 3:23 begins, “Whatever you do …”

“Whatever” includes homeless shelters on cold, dark mornings.
“Whatever” includes folding laundry.
“Whatever” includes side-work at a retail job, and your turn to clean the restrooms.
“Whatever” includes the “little things” that “don’t really matter.”

It includes shoveling the driveway, homework, changing diapers, preaching sermons, making dinner, driving, and making the bed in the morning.

“Whatever” isn’t flippant anymore.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. bianca permalink
    November 29, 2010 11:49 am

    When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn’t just words. Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions. – 1 Thess 1:5
    I think this is why I enjoy reading your blog so much. Thank you for not giving up on it just yet. (and, of course, thank you for the great reminder today :) )


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