Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Small Enough Worldview

I am grateful that the Christian worldview is big enough for the world. It’s big enough to sustain questions of eternal destinies, and it’s big enough when disasters seem to question God’s sovereignty and His goodness.

But tonight, I am particularly grateful that the Christian worldview is small enough for the mundane things of life. “God is so great that all things bring Him glory if we mean they should” – even chemistry problems that have to be re-taught three times and vocab words that are never quite pronounced right. So often I forget that there’s more to it than trying to help kids not fail a class or getting them caught up to the right reading level. It’s about bringing God glory in everything – especially in the seemingly trivial stuff, where I’m so tempted to think it doesn’t matter.

Life isn’t lived on the mountaintops, but that isn’t to say I spend my time walking through the valley of the shadow of death either. Most of life seems to be just walking, one foot in front of the other. From what I understand of parenting, for all its joys, there is also a whole lot of exhaustion from sleepless nights and endless dirty diapers. From what I know of being a student, the joy of acing a final and moving on comes only after memorizing endless lists of proximate causes for meaningless wars that never should have been fought, much less remembered for posterity. But we change the diapers and learn the facts because it’s not just about the here and now. There’s something much bigger at stake.

There’s this Kingdom of the Now and the Not Yet, and it gives me great hope. For even a cup of water offered in the name of the King is worth rewarding. The smallest and the least of these are not cast off; it is not only the important and the daring acts that are remembered. A King is coming, redeeming every part of life and work and society, and someday, in His Kingdom, He will make all things new.

Until then, there’s a tension we’ll never escape. And because of this tension, my head might always wonder that the supplementary angles and the perpendicular lines I taught today really aren’t as important as what the next guy is doing for the Kingdom. But it turns out that faithfulness and obedience are more important than racking up cool and impressive points. It turns out that even the littlest things that bring God’s rule and reign to life – a smile, an intentional moment of encouragement, a perseverance in doing the right thing – are important, because there is nothing that escapes the Lordship of Christ. He is King of chemistry just as He is King of Cambodia.

This isn’t to shy away from the big things He calls us to, but to realize we are to be faithful with little, or what may seem little, until He entrusts us with more. God doesn’t waste time or circumstances. He’s never late, though He may miss many opportunities to be early. Looking at things practically, it seems Israel would have been better off if Moses had shown up with the Exodus 40 years earlier or if David didn’t waste half his life waiting to replace Saul. It seems Jesus could have done a lot more important stuff if He wasn’t fixing chairs and hauling around rocks until He was thirty. But there’s something about waiting, something about just living, day to day, in and out, that God must value. There must be something about living out His Kingdom in math tutoring and in the grocery checkout line and in paper pushing and cleaning up after kids. There’s something reassuring about realizing faithfulness isn’t how many mountains I can throw into the sea, but how I live in the daily life of the Now and the Not Yet – studying, working, eating, shopping, playing, resting – glorifying God.

It’s not to say I’ve mastered this; on the contrary, I’ve just been convicted. If there’s anything I habitually fail at, it’s the command to remember – zakar in Hebrew. It carries an understanding of not just a recollection of fact, but of an understanding that impacts how one lives. Remember the Lord your God who brought you up out of Egypt. Remember your Creator in the days of your youth. Remember God and His goodness. Remember and trust Him. Remember and live.

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