Sunday, November 1, 2009

whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do...

I Corinthians 10:31 - So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

i'm reading a prayer book by Richard Foster and stalled in the chapter entitled "praying the ordinary." i stopped reading because i'm learning to pay attention to my visceral responses - and my current response is tears. here, the book is talking about praying while doing ordinary things, cooking, cleaning, working, reading, etc...i immediately interpreted this to be "do things well" - all things, any things, do them well. but i'm stalled because i don't think that's what he nor the Bible is saying. what is communicated in I Corinthians 10:31 is to do all things, great or small - not just well - but to the glory of God. so, now i'm stumped.

what does it mean to work to the glory of God? and how is this different than doing something well?

by nature, i'm a perfectionist. so, i'm thinking, the things that i choose to do are nearly always done well. i thought specifically about how i clean the bathrooms. i challenge anyone to a bathroom-cleaning-contest with me. i am meticulous. my mom always wondered why i didn't clean my bathrooms more often. the answer was because i only had energy to clean them the way i clean them every so often. the thought here is that i'm doing whatever it is i do well, but not giving God the glory. why?

i only do the things i can do well. if i can't do something well, i don't do it at all. i leave no room for God in what i choose to do. i don't approach something and think, "hey, i'm not very good at this, but i'm going to give it my best shot and hope to give glory to God while doing it." instead, i think, "if i can't do it well from the get-go, then i'm not going to even try." where is the leaning on God? there isn't any.

saying things should be done well isn't the way to invite God into things - it's the way to invite your own self-sufficiency. so, i can't interpret this verse anymore to believe that i should work well. instead, i have to interpret this verse as working with a willingness to include God - not show off for him how great i already am and don't really need his help anyway. to do things for the glory of God is to invite him into the space of my work and ask him to participate. the "doing to the glory of God" is doing in such a way as to extend an invitation.

i'm too busy doing things well that there is no space, no room for God to be included - either as a helper or as participant. i keep him in the audience to watch as i perform, on my own, all the great things i do well. but that is not giving him glory. but invitation is. space is. purposely doing things that are difficult and a challenge is.

here's to throwing out the charge to doing things well...



The Journey Unknown said...

I'll toast to that!

Steven said...

Ah. Perfectionism is such a trap. I know - I am in recovery from a life of it, and yet it is so hard to give up. The illusion of control is so seductive, and I think perfectionism gives us that false illusion. Perfectionism is about me, not about God having it His way, or doing anything to bring Him Glory.

Glad you are reading Eldredge. I have been profoundly influenced by his writings, especially "Wild at Heart", and find myself emboldened to *BE* just whatever-in-the-world God had in mind when He made me, regardless...