James’s Blog: The Small Things.

James’s Blog:  The Small Things.

I’m not an adventurous person, but the twists and turns of my life suggest that, for me at least, God implements such things as ‘compulsory adventures’. The problem is that being between adventures leaves me tormented by restlessness. I’m not exaggerating for effect (who me?).  ‘Tormented’ is a carefully chosen word.  I suspect this is a condition I’ll have to deal with for the rest of my days. It’s difficult.

My mistake is to think that life is about these big, momentous experiences, and eavesdropping on our culture only reinforces this misunderstanding. As a rule, we’re encouraged to sleepwalk our way through the week, looking forward to the weekend, or a holiday, or the Next Big Thing. It’s true that life can feel like long periods of boredom punctuated by brief periods of excitement, but only being enthusiastic about adventure is no way to live.

Actually, those long periods of boredom are crucially important. It’s the small things that we fill our lives with that make the difference, and as Richard Wurmbrand said, “Saints are those who do small things well.” The fruit of our lives comes from what we plant in the uneventful, not what we do on our compulsory adventures. We think that significant Christian leaders, the sort of people whose stories are told long after they are gone, are significant purely because they make the most of big opportunities. No. They’re men and women who make the most of the small things, and when the big things come their way they’re already so used to putting God front and centre that they take advantage of adventures out of habit. If you keep God to one side, waiting for something big to come along, then you’ll find that He won’t fit into your life because you’ve already filled it with junk.

Today’s blog post is just for me. I need to remind myself of what is true, especially during these grumpy weeks. Sitting down, staring in front of a blank screen and painfully squeezing words onto a page is good medicine. It’s one of the small things that I need to fill my life with in order to qualify for the next compulsory adventure.

James’s Blog: Little and Often.

James’s Blog:  Little and Often.

Imagine that you own a plot of land. You want to plant something in it, but it’s not in great condition. There are weeds that need to be removed and rocks that need to be cleared. It’s a big plot of land, so it’s a big job.

The good news is that there’s no immediate rush – you’ve got time. Even if you only move one rock or dig up one weed a day then you’ll manage it. It might take a while, but you’ll get there. On the other hand, it is a big job. It’s a bit overwhelming. You can’t help but wonder if it’s worth it.

A friend of my wife once told her about her grandmother’s attitude towards housework – “Little and often.”

Good advice for housework, and equally sound when it comes to developing your spiritual life. Little and often is far better than allowing yourself to become paralysed by the size of the task ahead. It takes time and work to nurture the garden of your soul into fertile soil, but not as much time and work as you might think.

Move a rock here, dig up a weed there. A few verses here, a minute of silent reflection there.  The only way that you won’t clear that land is if you do nothing.

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