So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
-Paul (Romans 12:1 MSG)
Happy new year! A certain day has passed, which fills us with hope and expectation and resolve to tackle another year better than ever before. Good luck with that! Today, just two days into our new experiment, over 80% of people who have made rock-solid resolutions have already begun the slow slide to defeat, which will sputter out over the next month or so. Don't get me wrong, resolutions are great... but somebody has to ask the question:
If it's really worth doing, then why'd you wait til the new year to start?
We have all these big goals and lofty ideals. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, this coming Sunday I'll be encouraging our folks at LifePath Church to be bold and brave this coming year.
But as I've reflected on the self-improvement phenomenon of new year's resolutions, a thought began to stir in me. At the turn of a new year, Christians often (rightly so) ask Jesus to help them determine what those big tasks and priorities should be.
God, what enormous and amazing thing am I supposed to do in 2020???
Now, I'm not going to claim I heard God's voice. But I'm not going to deny the possibility either. Because I heard this simple phrase as I considered that question so many are asking...
Big things are great, but I really want folks to do the dishes.
So I've been thinking about this. And I think "doing the dishes" is about more than just doing the dishes. A heart and mind that is being transformed in Jesus looks at every person, moment, and task in a new way. Dishes and laundry around the house are completely thankless jobs that most people avoid. They never end. The moment you take care of them, another meal comes along, another day wears through clothing, and the pile comes back again.
IT WILL NEVER GO AWAY.
Am I inspiring you yet?
But that's just it. What if the biggest change we sought after this year was about inviting God to transform the smallest moments that repeat over and over again? What if we, as a entire group of people, submitted ourselves to being changed by God's love while doing dishes or while driving to work? What if we decided that the mundane moments of our lives that everyone complains about would become, in us, opportunities to serve in joy? Opportunities to show love? Opportunities to enjoy God, even? What if I willingly served my family or roommate by stepping up to do the dishes, and then took it a even further by seeing each dish as a metaphor for how Jesus continues to renew me every day in my ability to receive and express His love? Is it possible this would shift how we view those days that leave us feeling used up, broken down, or just plain dirty? What if each day we remembered that we are that dish, but grace is constantly renewing us?
Don't you think that would change your life? As a disciple of Jesus, this year's greatest fulfillment will not be found by reorganizing each of your closets, but by redeeming each of your moments.
I hope you look to the new year with resolve and expectation. I hope you have grand goals and I hope you achieve them. But might I encourage you to make one of those goals a willingness welcome the in-between moments of life with joy and intentionality, so that there would be no area of your life where Jesus is not Lord.
Because maybe this year, Jesus just wants to you to do the dishes really well.
Jesus, transform today's normal moments so that every minute might be an experience of your love and grace.
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