Friday, October 7, 2011
"Shine like the top of the Chrysler building!"
“With a sigh, the young woman got on her knees and for the hundredth time began the unpleasant task of cleaning one of the two bathrooms in her family's home. She looked around somewhat dejectedly at the disaster area around her (compliments of her younger siblings); this was going to take awhile. Though she felt like complaining, she knew that to do so would be pointless and so tried to accept the task ahead of her.
Her thoughts were soon far away from stinky toilets and toothpaste-works-of-art, however, as she imagined herself in distant lands caring for orphaned babies desperately in need of love, or on a farm in the country where she lived happily ever after with the man of her dreams, or perhaps still here at home, but running a successful photography business.
But suddenly helpless infants, prince charming and professional photography disappeared into the lands of “not now,” “you wish” and “maybe later” as her younger sister entered the bathroom jamming out with that ever-so-popular dance known and recognized across the globe- and accompanied by the desperate cry all-to-common among toddlers and small children “I haaaave to go pooooootttttyyyy!”
With another sigh and determined to be patient with the young one, she asked, “Can't you go potty upstairs in the other bathroom?” “Nooooooo! Somebody's innnn theeere!” her sister wailed as her dance became even more frantic.
And so she rose from her knees and left the room as her sister ran in, slamming the door behind her. “
In case it isn't obvious, this is me, on just about any given day of my life. Dull is my middle name and boring happens to be my last. Seemingly meaningless tasks tend to consume the better part of my day, and somehow in between it all I search for meaning and a purpose.
When I kneel to scrub the crap off the toilet or find myself picking clothes up off the floor for the billionth time (when there's a laundry hamper RIGHT THERE!) it can be hard to keep focused. I find myself wishing for something different. Especially when my work goes entirely unrecognized by the world. I can make a toilet “shine like the top of the Chrysler building” as well as any world-renown artist can elegantly bathe a canvas, and yet somehow I'm the one in the shadows! How come there are no news articles screaming, “World-famous janitor makes toilet shine?” But noooo that's not good enough. How much lower can you get then scrubbing toilets?
But that's it! There's my purpose! There, in the midst of humble pie and my just desserts, is purpose and meaning. Don't get it? Bear with me.
This morning I read the bible to my younger siblings in place of my mom, who was at a doctor's appointment. How appropriately suited to me at this time are these verses in Matthew 20, which I found among those assigned me in our daily devotional bible:
“Jesus called them together and said, 'You know that those whoa re regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.' ”
Am I better than the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Am I somehow more worthy of recognition and honor then the Creator of the universe?! I think not!
His life was one of servitude and sacrifice! He washed the who-wants-to-know-what off of His disciples feet! And He said He did it in order to set an example for us.
So what is my purpose? The same as was my Masters. To serve the Father, and to allow Him to use me in whatever way He so chooses in order to further bring about His purpose and His glorious Kingdom. And while the world looks with disdain upon those who are given the seemingly menial tasks, He honors humility. It would be a shame on me if I sought only that which would bring me glory, honor or fame!
Does this mean I particularly enjoy cleaning bathrooms? Not really. But it does mean that I do find JOY in serving not only my family, but my Father. And admittedly, I actually do have fun in the process in spite of myself, especially when I get my younger bro in on it!
Yesterday as I was cleaning the toilet I had him scrubbing the shower, and randomly he said “DON'T turn the shower on.” This, of course, was an obvious mistake on his part, as his older sister (yes, this one) has yet to outgrow her mischievous tendencies and natural fun-loving desires.
Within a minute or so I turned around to inspect his work and pointed out the “need” for extra scrubbing in the far back corner. Not at all anticipating my next move, he scooted farther into the shower as he reached for the spot I'd indicated.
Seconds later cold water was showering full-blast upon him- and I was laughing hysterically. Unfortunately, with an exclamation of surprise as he stomped out of the room it was soon evident he'd not found it as humorous or enjoyable as I. After a few angry tears (yes, for real), however, he returned to his work- though as yet he remains cautious when cleaning the shower and closes and locks the door to that half of the bathroom. Oops. (;
So I encourage you, embrace the tasks that have been given you-- wherever you may find yourself in life. Whether its scrubbing toilets, filing papers, or mowing the lawn. For even Jesus came, not to be served, but to serve. And who knows? You might even have fun, if you let yourself.
Your sister in Christ,