Are you in the habit of taking on the smelly tasks of life with a smile and a sense of pride? If not, perhaps you’ve forgotten your Christian family name? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
Recently we switched to trash pickup. For years I’ve burned what was burnable, taking the rest to the recycling center down the road. So after years of doing it one way, I’ve opted to contract with a waste management company to have my trash and recyclables picked up. One of the advantages of the old way of disposing of trash was that if something began to smell in the trash bin I simply carted it off to the burning barrel and burned it. Now, however, when an odor does develop I have to wait for trash pickup day. Last week an odor established itself in the garage. Something had been tossed into the bin that should have been thrown into the mulching pit out back. What to do? I opted to put on a pair of those disposable plastic gloves and sort through the trash barrel in search of the smelly culprit. This was a disagreeable job but necessary. Nonetheless, I put on my gloves with a sense of pride and responsibility. A slight smile lit my face. This smelly job had my name on it and as disagreeable as it was, I knew that my willingness to do it without complaint reflected on me, my family, and my good name. The Brunners don’t tolerate smelly garbage in their garage. They deal with odors.
Are you in the habit of taking on the smelly tasks of life with a smile and a sense of pride? If not, perhaps you’ve forgotten how your willingness to do so reflects on your family name: Christian?
Here’s a story: One of the most prodigious composers in history was Johanne Sebastian Bach. He produced sonatas, cantatas and concertos with a deftness and frequency unmatched by any other composer before or hence. This prolific production, however, came with a price. Bach was known to spend countless hours seated at his organ bench writing and rewriting, practicing and re-practicing his musical creations. The toll was impacting on not only his family life but his personal health. Sometimes several days would go by where the composer did not see his family, eat or sleep. Why did he do it. Bach answered that question this way, “All music should have no other end and aim than the glory of God and the soul’s refreshment; where this is not remembered there is no real music but only a devilish hub-bub.” He headed his compositions: “J.J.” “Jesus Juva” which means “Jesus help me.” He ended them “S.D.G.” “Soli Dei gratia” which means “To God alone the praise.” (Kingdom Conflict, J. Stowell, Victor, 1985, p. 77ff.)
Some aspects of composition were disagreeable for Bach, but he took on these tasks with a sense of pride, knowing that, in the end, Jesus would be glorified. That compelled him to go without rest, food, even his family, in order to make sure that his music was the best that it could be. If you know his music, there wasn’t a composition which didn’t “smell” sweet. If Bach found an “odor” in his music he put on his editing gloves and dug through it until that “odor” was discovered and dealt with. When you and I take on the smelly tasks of life with that spirit, we glorify Jesus as well. In fact, God will make sure that your life and mine will always be replete with enough garbage to give us that opportunity. Looking to glorify Jesus in your life? He will be found in the smelly stuff every time. Without life’s smelly tasks our lives would be filled with the unchecked odors of selfishness and pride. Thank God for life’s garbage and the opportunities to do the clean up in the name of Jesus Christ. To God be the glory–Soli Dei gratia!
We pray. Thank you Lord for the challenges of life, the really smelly things that we sometimes have to force ourselves to do. Forgive us Father when we debate with ourselves as to why we should take on the tough tasks when you have explained to us in your Word that Christ is manifest in the things of this life that are difficult, even seemingly impossible to do. Help us Lord to remember this and thereby bring you glory in Christ as we attack the smelly things of life. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. This Passing Day. (Matt 6:34)
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