THE DAILY GRIND
||CHRIST'S HANDS ACROSS THE INTERNET|
Where christians come to share, pray and study.
By Michael Hawkinson
What in the world does the title "The Daily Grind" have to do with CHAIN? Doesn't sound like anything good, does it? Yet, there is a blessing hidden on IRC and it comes from recognizing the daily grind.|
What is the daily grind? Most people think of it in negative terms synonymous with rut or routine. A meaningless repeating of tedious, never ending tasks. Dull, boring, repetitive chores. Definitely something to be avoided but more importantly, something which never describes the lives of committed, revived, passionate, obedient children of God. Certainly not those who are in God's will and doing His work! Oh to have the life of an Prophet, Apostle, Pastor or to just be a fired-up, tuned in, spirit filled Christian! Now that would end the daily grind! Right?
First, Maybe one should look at what a daily grind looks like. Most people start their day with activities such as showering, shaving, brushing their teeth and other hygienic chores. Then follows the feeding and herding of one's self and/or family through dressing, eating and getting to work or school. Maybe reading a paper or watching a news program. Now to find the car keys, homework, text books, shoes, coat and whatever else is on the to-do list (which of course is never actually completed). Then off to work! Projects, deadlines, expectations. Cleaning, dusting, washing dishes, vacuuming, laundry, shopping. Meetings, sports, doctor appointments, bills, bills and more bills. All of these tedious tasks and never a single 32 hour day that we really need to get everything done. If we could only escape these things! If only we were closer to God! Certainly He would take these things from us!
OK, "But Mike", you say, "you forgot about reading the Word, praying and fellowship." hmmm... is reading the Word of God, praying or taking part in fellowship, part of the "daily grind?" Yes, it should be and sadly many find it no more than a tedious, repetitive chore. "Of course" you remind me, "that is not true of godly men and women." By this time you are wondering if this is supposed to be edifying and if I actually have a point? Come on, you know me. Of course I have a point, it just takes hours to get to it.
Let's look at how those who were called by God escaped the daily grind.
Moses. Now there is someone who is lived an incredible life. Think of God's call. God spoke through a burning bush, sent him to Egypt and through him prophesied and freed a nation of people. God traveled with him and the people as fire and cloud. He saw the Red Sea parted and safely escaped the Pharaoh! Oh, we know that in the beginning he protested. "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." and, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, `The LORD did not appear to you'?" We can't imagine God speaking to us and us saying those things. How could Moses have ever said to God, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it."
OK, but then He saw God work and led a million people out of Israel through a sea that God divided. His joy must have been immense. When he faced the daily grind, He knew God would provide every need. "If I saw those things and God called me, I would be like Moses" you assure me. Before you start trying to be someone else let's look at one of Mose's responses to facing the daily grind.
Numbers 11:15 "If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now--if I have found favor in your eyes--and do not let me face my own ruin."
"Mike, that is not fair." you say "He had a million people to listen to. OK, maybe I had not thought this through." Now it is my turn to caution you. I can assure you that Moses was very much loved by God.
Exodus 33:17 "And the LORD said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name." Moses asked to see God's glory and God hid him in a cleft of the Rock and passed before him. His face shone with glory and was covered because of the fear of the Israelites.
I could give many examples of God's love and compassion shown to his people and speak of the miracles He had them do or prophecies He had them speak. Yet here are some of the comments made by these people loved by God.
"Thanks a lot," you think, "Now I am really edified, excited and ready to tackle anything!" Is that sarcasm? I hope you don't stop reading! Let's talk about God's people. If the internet has done anything, it has brought "the daily grind" into clear view. Not just for nonbelievers and nominal Christians, but in the lives of those who love God and commune with Him daily. Whom He uses to reach many, even hundreds with His Word and love.
- Jonah: "Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live." Jonah 4:3 (NIV)
- Elijah: "while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." 1 Kings 19:4 (NIV)
- Isaiah: "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." Isaiah 6:5 (NIV)
- Saul: "Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" "I am in great distress," Saul said. "The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has turned away from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do." 1 Samuel 28:15 (NIV)
- Mordecai: "When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly." Esther 4:1 (NIV)
- Mary Magdalene: "They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." (NIV)
This can be blessing or curse. What makes the difference? The people mentioned and quoted above, were all people of God. They all witnessed miracles and heard the voice of God! Yet they faced trial and felt despair, they chose wrong paths and trembled in the presence of God. The world teaches us that the daily grind is bad. That somehow we must try new foods, learn new dances, keep up with fads and general be sheep, albeit "chic" sheep. (Try saying that 3 times really fast.) We are told that monogamy is passe', being a housewife is petty, asserting the Bible is truth is ignorant and any job that doesn't offer career advancement (see: money fame) is a bore.
What is the difference between being revived and zealous or being defeated in the face of the daily grind? It is not freedom from the reality that a daily grind exists. Indeed, Paul begged for the "thorn in his flesh" to be removed and very moving is the picture of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem and deeply convicting is His prayer asking "If it is your will, let this cup pass from me."
So what is the answer to living the daily grind victoriously? Can we eliminate it? God has given us responsibilities and trusts us with serving Him as parents, brothers/sisters, sons/daughters, employees, friends, teammates, etc. He has also given us biological needs. We have also taken on responsibilities financially, at church and with neighbors. Many of the duties and tasks we face are repetitive. "How is that some people can face them with joy and others can't?" you ponder. Well, almost all of us face tasks joyfully and other times they are joyless and even annoying. What is the difference. It can't be repetitiveness alone, for who would get tired of getting A's on every test and pop quiz? Would you get tired of getting a paycheck, your whole paycheck, every day? How about being told and shown that you are loved every day by someone you love?
One day we complain about our health and the next we are thanking God for our health? How is it that one day you love your children as you help them with some problem and you just want to gather them into your arms, then another day helping with that same problem makes you want to give them up for adoption? One day you can't wait to see your spouse walk through that door and other times you wished you had changed the locks! Some mornings breakfast is no problem and others it is a hassle. A lot of it has to do with our attitudes toward and understanding of what we are doing and why. Joy and peace come from understanding God's plan, knowing who we are and reminding ourselves of it each moment. More than that, it is being grateful. It is in realizing that the daily grind is just a description of the way we handle our daily responsibilities and in how we view and respond to them.
You see, the difference comes from understanding. One day we are frustrated about being overweight, having gray hair, some body ache or one of many age/health related complaints. Then we or someone we know becomes very ill, almost dies and suddenly our complaints disappear. Why? They did not go away. You probably tell me, "Well Mike, How can I worry about my fatigue and pain when my friend is suffering?" or you say, "I have not even thought about it or paid attention to it." You see, it is perspective. Breakfast is not a problem if we get up on time, but if we hit the snooze button too many times, then all the morning tasks become a hassle.
One of my favorite verses and a good description of daily grind is:
- II Cor 4: (7) We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (8) We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (16) Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (17) For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far out weighs them all. (18) So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Am I saying anything that makes sense? Do you see that it is in realizing or understanding our troubles as "light and momentary." It is in knowing what is temporary and what is eternal. It is comprehending that "there is nothing new under the sun." It is knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus. It is in giving away that which we cannot keep for a treasure that cannot be lost.
"I would trade everything to know that God loves me and is with me every moment and that He hears my prayers." Well, that is what I am telling you. He does! Even when you have a bad day! That is what His Word shows us. Moses, Jonah and Elijah had awesome days and obviously at least one bad one. It is not defeat when we cry to God out of despair, it is our heart and it is what God desires. Not that we despair, but that we call out to Him.
This is getting long and I know I am writing this in a rambling style. I hope I am getting you to think and more importantly to pray. So how is the internet connected to the Daily grind and where is that blessing you talked about? The blessing of the internet is in bringing the daily grind of faithful men and women under the scrutiny of many. Sure, people will say "Look, He or she is just like me. They struggle and fail. They have many needs and beg God to meet them." People will see that even for the most dedicated and anointed believer, whole days go by without a single healing, praying with someone to accept Jesus or even a small fish pond being parted. The internet has made us aware of how everyone faces a daily grind and helped us to see and know people in a very personal way. You will also see these same faithful believers rejoice and succeed in the course of the daily grind. You will see courage, faith, love, hope and joy where it is obvious that it comes from God and not from circumstances.
So, when you face the daily grind on a chat channel like #chain may you think about what you do and why you do it. Taking care of responsibilities neither need to be joyless nor joyful, but try to learn to be grateful when possible and cry out to God when you need to. When you have a word of encouragement or have resources to help someone, please do it. When you have a need, let God know and then let others know to at least pray for you. If you take the time to look at your situation through God's eyes you will find hope, you will have peace that passes understanding and you will rejoice! I leave you with a onevoice paraphrase:
- I Peter 1: (3) Praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (4) and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fad--- kept in heaven for you, (5) who through faith are shielded by Godís power until the coming of salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (6) In this you greatly rejoice. though now for a little while you may have to suffer the daily grind.* (7) This is so that your faith-- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (8) Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, (9) for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
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