"As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. Go into that village over there, he told them. As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, What are you doing? just say, The Lord needs it and will return it soon. (Mark 11:1-3, NLT)
Ive been thinking lately about the tension that many Christians experience due to the way they compartmentalize their lives into two boxes: the faith box and the everything else box. Into the Faith Box we toss church-going, bible reading, praying, worshiping, etc. Into the Everything Else Box we toss, well, everything else.
Why does this create tension? Because those who are truly sincere about their faith in Jesus Christ know in their heart of hearts that there shouldnt be two boxes at all. Lurking in the back of our minds is the admonition of the Apostle: Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). But if we are truthful about the matter, we have to admit that much of what we do every day has nothing to do with the glory of God. Or, perhaps better stated, we have no CONSCIOUS SENSE that what we are doing glorifies God at all.
Why is that?
Because we cant see how Everything Else can fit into our Faith Box. Lets face itthings like cutting the grass, taking a shower, feeding the pet, and going to the bathroom dont seem very spiritual. Then, of course, we have the bigger thingslike our jobs, paying the bills, hobbies, relating to our families and friends and those other things that take up the great bulk of our lives. And since we dont have a sense of how the great bulk of our lives brings glory to God, we get frustrated and discouraged. We get the sense that we are wasting our lives; that most of what we are doing everyday is doing nothing to advance the Kingdom of God. And when we ARE playing in our Faith Box, we tend to feel guilty that we are not in this box much more often than we are. This tightrope walk between the two boxes is a joy-killer and a peace-robber.
This dilemma, which we perceive to be real, is entirely unnecessary. It is founded on a profound misunderstanding, and this idea of a separate Faith Box and Everything Else Box is foreign to the New Testament. Jesus is the perfect example of someone who did not walk this bifurcated life. I ALWAYS do those things that please Him (John 8:29, my emphasis). But wait-- wasnt Jesus a man? Did he not have normal bodily functions and have the same concerns that were common to men of his day? Indeed he did. But he was keenly aware of the fact that all things CAN be done for Gods glory. And he walked in this reality.
But how can WE do so?
First, we have to understand that God knows all about our bodies, and our day to day activities that are necessary but that to us seem unimportant as far as God's glory is concerned(i.e. they dont go in the Faith Box). As Christians, we carry Christ with us, just as the humble donkey carried Jesus in the passage quoted above. We simply need to practice being CONSCIOUSLY AWARE that we are carrying Christ with us. He has need of us, just as he had need of that donkey. This, in itself, will go a long way in helping us to realize how our secular activities can bring glory to God. "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). Or, as The Message puts it: "The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God's glory. It's that simple. That is the substance of our Message."
However, this will take practice and some getting used to. As we know, these types of thoughts do not come naturally. We have to make an effort to think this way, and pray that God will remind us daily. Old habits die hard. We have to have the faith to believe that if we offer all of our acts to God, that He will indeed accept this offering. We should be offering breath prayers throughout the day- telling God that whatever you may be doing is for His glory. And, with time, we should find that we no longer have need of a separate Faith Box and Everything Else Box because we will realize that everything really is for Him, after all.