Guest post by Steph Beth Nickel
Many of you may not think of 53 as “the other side of the hill,” and I’m not saying that I’m ready to throw a blanket over my legs, take up knitting, and sit in my rocking chair until the Lord calls me home. Far from it!
However, I’m not 20 anymore . . . or 30 or 40. And that’s okay.
And while I do believe we can make the most of the second half of life by eating well, getting adequate physical activity, and refusing to sit back and leave “the real work” to the next generation . . . there comes a time when we must honestly evaluate our priorities.
I would say that mine all have to do with relationship—with God, family and friends, and others who cross my path. But my perspective is changing; my focus is narrowing even further.
As a Christian, I’ve heard it said, “It’s all about Jesus.” I have never agreed more than I do right now.
Just why do I do what I do?
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (ESV)
Yes, I must earn an income.
No, there is nothing wrong with kicking back with my family and watching TV in the evening—depending, of course, on what we choose to watch.
And what about household chores, grocery shopping, and gardening? They all have their place. (Though I did write a blog for a while titled “Confessions of a Horrible Housekeeper,” and I still leave the gardening to my hubby.)
Lately, as I’ve been going about my day-to-day tasks, I’ve realized just how futile the vast majority of our pursuits really are—at least in the light of eternity. I can understand why Solomon said, “Meaningless! Meaningless . . . Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:1 NIV).
If I stop there, I may be tempted to head for that rocking chair. And forget the knitting . . . for that might bless someone.
Remember Ecclesiastes 3:11-13.
He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. (NIV)
I admit if I focus on the apparent futility of the everyday, I will slip into a funk. In fact, I have been dealing with negativity for a while now.
But if I focus on the passages from 1 Corinthians 10 and Ecclesiastes 3, I am reminded that I must do what I do for God’s glory—even the everyday tasks.
How can we do everyday tasks for the Lord’s glory?
Thank God for another new day even before we get out of bed and think of five things to be thankful for before our feet hit the floor.
Commit each task, no matter how trivial, to the Lord.
Ask for strength to do what we do for His glory and the good of others.
If we’re tempted to let go of those responsibilities that obviously further God’s kingdom, we should prayerfully consider what other obligations and pursuits we can set aside. God’s wisdom is available to help us make the right decisions. (See James 1:5)
And let’s remember . . . it is not wrong to take care of ourselves—by spending quiet time with God each day, eating well, exercising regularly, or decompressing with some alone time or by grabbing a coffee with a friend. After all, we must replenish our resources in order to have something to give.
Condemnation vs. Conviction
I want to encourage you with a realization I came to years ago. If we feel condemned, it is not God’s doing. Now, conviction, which is of God, can feel the same at first, but with conviction, He provides a way out.
[Questions or comments for Stephanie? Leave them below!]
Stephanie is a freelance writer and editor. She writes under the pen name Steph Beth Nickel. She co-authored Paralympian Deborah L. Willows’ memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances. Among other places, it is available from Castle Quay Books and Amazon. Steph has been blogging since 2010 and is a regular guest on Kimberley Payne’s site (fitness tips) and Christian Editing Services (writing tips). She will also be writing and recording regularly for the newly-formed Hope Stream Radio. Stephanie is an active member of The Word Guild and InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship