Plumbing the depths

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10.31


From the world's perspective, our celebrity culture driven by social media parades the antics and acquisitions of a favoured few in such a way as to leave the rest of us feeling like pathetic also-rans; losers in the race of life. The Christian perspective is altogether different...


Jesus deliberately sets aside worldly glory in favour of humble obscurity: being born in a stable, growing up in a working-class family, serving his time as a carpenter, mixing with all and sundry and submitting to a humiliating and painful death. Then, in his resurrection and ascension, he invites us to follow him to glory... but not before taking up our own cross - every day.


In his wisdom, God wants to shape us for glory through our getting to grips with the daily grind of ordinary life. Occasionally God calls people into worldly prominence but we are not to seek it. True faithfulness is worked out through embracing our ordinary circumstances - extraordinarily. Our quality and significance are not found in our achievements and possessions but in our character.


Just as a bird or a fish or an animal glorifies God by being a bird or a fish or an animal, so humans glorify God by embracing our circumstances and living diligently and joyfully. We miss out on so much when we relegate faith to an hour a week on a Sunday. Recognising the call of God in every aspect and at every moment of our lives suffuses our workaday routines with God's grace so that they become rhythms of grace, in which we are agents of the Holy Spirit, as we transform frustrations at work into opportunities to go the extra mile, or waiting at the bus stop into moments of prayer, or family meals into sacramental celebrations.


During my military service, I once observed a friend savouring his rations, despite our grim circumstances and with weather to match. Noticing my inquisitiveness he remarked: "When you are in danger of losing everything, you learn to appreciate all the little things you normally take for granted." Oh, to live like that!

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