The magnificent or the mundane?
WAITING in line at the post office; bleaching dirty socks; trying to balance one's checkbook -- are these the things of which great lives are made? Do I hear you sigh? Have you also looked across your days -- and perhaps your weeks and years -- and marveled at the time consumed in the unglamorous and seemingly insignificant tasks that simply must be done, whether or not you're thrilled by the prospect of doing them? Great lives are not epitomized only by huge, significant events. Greatness of character couldn't be reserved for certain moments when eyes are fixed upon us and great consequence is apparent to all. The qualities of greatness that truly inspire and help others must certainly be developed and cherished during the moments when ``the cameras aren't rolling,'' so to speak.
So what's significant and what's mundane? I've had occasion to ask myself that. The reason I've questioned myself on this subject is that Christian Science has been teaching me to question appearances. And it has been turning me to the Bible more and more. This is a strong message the Bible has been giving me: the sons and daughters of God have a spiritual nature; they've been given dominion over all the earth; they express the perfection of their creator. So we should strive to express this domini on of our true selfhood beautifully, whatever we're doing.
Knowing that we're the beloved offspring of God should fill us with joy. It should have the effect of bringing a special grace and purpose to everything we do. It should show us the significance of Christianity in the details of life.
Mary Baker Eddy,1 discussing the effects of spiritual baptism, or a cleansing of thought, writes: ``By purifying human thought, this state of mind permeates with increased harmony all the minutiae of human affairs. It brings with it wonderful foresight, wisdom, and power; it unselfs the mortal purpose, gives steadiness to resolve, and success to endeavor.'' 2 The effect of genuine Christianity is always purifying, harmonizing. And it always promotes unselfishness. If we thought of the various duties
of life from a selfish and burdened perspective, we'd feel put upon, bored, or perhaps even resentful. But if we recognized these duties as Christian opportunities to express God-derived patience, love, accuracy, strength, order, intelligence, we might find the very same duties being transformed from the mundane to the magnificent.
This often happens to me when I'm humble and receptive enough to let the minutiae of my life be touched by God, by Spirit. Gradually or suddenly, things look brighter. Making a bed or fixing a fence becomes a labor of love. Boredom melts away.
One day after needlessly shouting at my children for making a mess, I repentantly turned to God for insight to see real meaning in the cleaning chores I had to do. Tears of exasperation stopped as I sang a hymn of gratitude while washing the dishes. When I finished, I noticed that some blisters that had been hurting me that morning were gone.
Christ Jesus told a parable in which an employer commended a faithful worker, saying, ``Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.'' 3 We can experience the rewards of being faithful Christian disciples, seeing the magnificence in our moments and the unfolding greatness in our Godward-turning thoughts and lives. 1 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 204. 3 Matthew 25:21.