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Changing the “Routine Paradigm”

At one time I had my Christian life neatly prioritized. It was: first, God. Second, family. And third, work…specifically, my work as a pastor.

And then I prioritized those categories into sub-categories. For instance, under Family it would be: Wife. Then Kids. Then Blood-line Family; Extended Family; Some Relatives in Kentucky; Lucy, the Family Dog; Some Of The Other Relatives in Kentucky; my wife’s Uncle Frank in Northern Ohio, and so on. The problem with that is that all the categories—God, family, work—are interrelated. It’s God in my family, God in my work, God in serving God. By loving my family, I worship God and honor Him. I work in order to give to others and consider that giving to God Himself. We pigeon-hole and categorize, God integrates and makes whole. We see either/or; God sees both/and. Jesus blurs the line between what we might call the sacred and the secular. In a fascinating parable about the final judgment—the separation of the sheep from the goats—the astonishing thing is that the sheep are genuinely surprised that they really did anything directly to Jesus. “When did we see you naked? When were you hungry? We didn’t see You there.” Jesus helps them understand that when they did anything for the least, they were doing that to God. They were people who went to their graves never knowing they had ministered to Jesus, perhaps never knowing how He was a part of everything, in both the exhilarating times and the mundane routines. It may very well be that God is more interested in the routine of our lives than the big spiritual explosions that occur from time to time. It’s like having a moment of clarity one day and thinking, “Oh. You mean I get to love my spouse…and in so doing, it’s an act of love toward God? I get it!” It’s in the routine that our true character is exposed, not the big heroic moments. That would be like me—a terrible athlete—one day having a good pickup game with some friends and then saying, “Now you’re seeing the real Dave Workman…” Leadership is often filled with mundane routines, but they may be revealing more about our character than we realize. And as you know, character is central to our ultimate calling.

Q. How might you begin to see your routines as a leader in a different light?

Dave Workman | Elemental Churches

…Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me… ~prayer attributed to St. Patrick


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