On Life’s Common Duties

Like a server at the five-star bistro
who presents on a tray the same gourmet
delights she has tasted (having access
to the kitchen),

and lately a little on the weary
side, I offer not my own words
but the better creations
of a master chef:

(All excerpts below are from Between Walden and the Whirlwind, also published under the title Finding Focus in a Whirlwind World, by Jean Fleming. It’s out of print, but if you can get your hands on it…)

The acid test of Christianity is not giving our life at the stake or in the lion’s den, but giving it little by little, day after day, moment by moment, a drop at a time, in the common duties of life assigned to us. . . .

It is not the job that determines its worth and impact, rather the heart of the person approaching and executing the task. No work in itself is spiritual or secular. Prayer can be secular if it is offered as a perfunctory exercise of form; sorting socks or changing the oil can become a sacrament when done with a pure heart surrendered to God. . . .

God gave unfathomable dignity to common labor when He made His only begotten Son a carpenter, not a king or a scholar. . . . God’s order is not to abolish the mundane and routine from the life of a Christian, but to transform it.

– Jean Fleming, Between Walden and the Whirlwind, pp. 99, 100


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