Thrilling Monotony

One of the things I love to do in my spare time is fish. I can literally spend all day making cast after cast, over and over hoping for a bite. Some people think it’s monotonous, or mundane to cast, reel, cast, reel, cast, reel over and over again, but to me it’s thrilling because I never know if this next cast is going to be the one I hook a giant. It’s thrilling because even if you get a bite and you hook something, you aren’t really sure what you have until it’s out of the water. The mystery is exciting. Since I feel this way I spend what free time isn’t spent at the lake researching different techniques and lures, finding out ways I can improve my abilities. Then I go back at it; cast, reel, cast, reel, cast, reel because in the monotony and mundane task there is a thrill of what could happen.

Sadly, I don’t take this approach with a lot of other tasks that can seem mundane. Cleaning the house, cooking dinner, putting together the same puzzle I’ve put together 8 million times with my 3-year-old, and any other number of things that I feel like I just do the same over and over with no point. What I fail to recognize is that I never know if this time when I’m gathering the garbage might be the time it clicks in my daughter’s head that helping around the house is a way to show love. I don’t always think that maybe this time doing the dishes is the time that my girls will see that a man is not above serving his wife in simple ways. Just like I never know when that big one is going to bite, I don’t know when that big “Aha!” moment is going to happen in their mind. So, I’ve got to remember to keep on casting, keep on reeling, as mundane and pointless as it may seem.

It’s in the mundane things that discipleship and gospel proclamation happen. Your attitude towards yet another stack of paperwork your boss just dropped on your desk, how you approach yet another day of endless loads of laundry, whatever it is in your life that feels like has no point and is just something you have to do, there is purpose. There is purpose, and that purpose is to show the gospel transformation that has happened in your life to the world around you. Whether co-workers, your spouse, your children, your parents, or whoever it is, our attitude in the mundane speaks volumes.

Colossians 3:23 reminds us that, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as to the Lord…” Do I dive into a sink full of dishes with the attitude that I am doing this for God so that my love for Him and my family is conveyed to my family? Or do I trudge begrudgingly into a sink of dishes complaining that someone didn’t scrape their plate well enough before putting it in the sink and now I have to deal with it? Whatever we do it is for God, even if it feels like nothing is happening and there is no end it is something we can do for God. Matthew 5:16 gives the challenge too, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” As we do everything as to the Lord it is a good work that points people to God.

Let me be clear, just like there are days when I go fishing and I catch nothing there are times where you can be doing whatever you do as to the Lord and nothing happens. That doesn’t mean we stop. If I stopped fishing the first time I got skunked I would have quite decades ago (which I’m sure my wife would be fine with). However, rather than quite after a day of nothing, I go back and try again with the same attitude of “today is the day something big could happen." So, don’t be discouraged if being happy about expense reports, or joyfully reading the same book you’ve read 10 thousand times doesn’t produce a disciple or see someone come to know Christ. My father in-law always tells me when we’re fishing, “You can’t catch a fish if your line is not in the water.” In the same way, you can’t reach someone for Christ or make disciples if you’re not actively trying.

So, whatever it is, laundry or staff meetings, paperwork or dishes, do it for God. Then the boring cast, reel process of life goes from routine to thrilling.

-Richie Gibson, Youth Pastor