When my children were little they had chores.
Somewhere I’d read about the importance of each child participating in the every day tasks of running a household so that they would feel fully at home there. Those assignments were good for their self-esteem, “according to the experts”, and who was I to argue?
So I made lists. And Chore Charts. And we stuck stars next to tasks completed and handed out allowance and pats on the back and lots and lots of praise for a job well done.
Or at least done.
But I didn’t realize that I had chores too. Chores assigned to me by a loving Father who knows I need to belong.
I just thought I had work to do. Too much work. Work that harried and harassed and made me crabby some days.
Work is different than chores. Work is endless and pointless and exhausting and defeating. It’s over and over again without end and without purpose.
Work is getting things done…that have got to be done …that I don’t want to do.
( an original quote from the lazy wisdom of Diane Comer)
But one day I stumbled upon a story about Jesus that changed my mind about all that work.
It’s a story about a man who was born blind. Couldn’t see a thing. And because he was blind he had to beg or die.
He couldn’t work.
That man would have loved a list of things to do. But he just sat by the side of the road, choking on dust, begging for a bite of bread. Pitiful.
And Jesus came along that road with His entourage of disciples and critics and hangers-on. Lots of dust, lots of noise.
And the man must have looked a mess because someone saw him and wanted to know why he had it so bad.
Whose fault was it? His parents? His own?
Right in front of the man whose ears worked fine, they questioned and probed and snickered and said things loud that they should have whispered.
And I think Jesus got a little annoyed at their rudeness.
But I don’t know because He didn’t say. I’m just guessing.
His next words aren’t about blindness and finding fault, but about glory and God and the way He does the most amazing things because He is amazing and bigger than we think and better than we are.
And then He launches into a lecture about doing to this crowd of talkers.
“All of us must quickly carry out
the tasks assigned us
by the One who sent Me,
because there is little time left
before night falls…
and all work comes to an end.”
~Jesus (John 9:4)
Next thing you know, Jesus makes a pack of mud for the blind man’s eyes and gives him an assignment.
“Go wash off the mud.”
And the man did. He did what he was told. Exactly what he was told. And he did it right away. He didn’t argue. He didn’t debate.
He just went and washed.
And that is sometimes- oftentimes- the way God does things.
He gives us a task to do. Something simple. Inglorious. Like scrubbing mud from blinded eyes…
Or getting up at 4 a.m. to open at Starbucks…
Or lacing on running shoes…
Or going to school for what seems like forever…
Or wiping babies bottoms and toddlers tears…
Or embracing broken husbands…
And we get a little dirty, splattered with the everyday stuff.
No glamour. No applause. No fake smiles.
But it’s our task. Yours… mine. And if we don’t do it...
if I won’t do it... it won’t get done.
And that will be the end of a story that should have ended better. Could have ended better, if only I’d obeyed.
I don’t know what your chores are. I haven’t seen the chart He’s constructed or the stars He’s gathered to stick next to your name.
But I do know mine. And they’re different sometimes from the things I’ve put on my list for the day. Different even from what others expect me to do. If I tried to do what everyone else thinks I ought to do I’d just curl up and give up and cry and never try again.
But His list is different. Custom made for me. For now.
I know what He wants me to do so its time to stop talking and go do it.
And I’d better hurry because pretty soon I won’t be able to. Night is falling. He’s getting ready to tuck us into bed and tell us His bedtime story and sooth us with His songs and let us rest there until the real work begins.
And I can hardly wait.
From my heart,