Sunday Scripture and Book Talk
Winter has come to this country hill, and the trees stand gaunt and leafless, silent, even in the wind unless a strong gust rattles their branches or snaps a limb. Barren trees in mid-winter brought Nicholas Herman to faith, dramatically, in 17th-century France as he considered “that with a little time the leaves would be renewed, and after that, the flowers and fruit appear.” Struck to the heart by the power and providence of God, he joined a monastery and has been known forever after as “Brother Lawrence.”
The spiritual insights of Brother Lawrence are preserved in the classic book The Practice of the Presence of God, and I’ve been reading a few pages every night in this season of bare trees. The bulk of Brother Lawrence’s spiritual formation happened at the kitchen sink, for he was assigned the humble task of scrubbing pots and pans in the monastery where he lived out his career. Ever the cynic, I read his words about work and prayer and the power of God, and I wonder at the clear-eyed simplicity of the man’s worldview.
Two major themes run through his letters and his recorded conversations, and they challenge me to let the power and providence of God change the way I practice my faith.
1. All Work is Spiritual Work
The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen… I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees.”Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God
All work is spiritual work, and I keep reminding myself that God is no more impressed with me right now in the act of writing a devotional than he was this morning when I was packing my husband’s lunch. Moments when my hands are busy and my mind is free provide the perfect opportunity to commune with God, to review Scripture, and to pray for my people.
No matter what I am working on, God is most concerned with my heart. Am I serving wholeheartedly, “with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men?”
- Is there a time in your day when you can turn mundane work into meaningful communion with God?
- If you’re looking for encouragement in your own daily routine, be sure to listen to my conversation with Erin Michele on her podcast, Steps to Trusting. We went deep into the feelings around the conflict mums feel between our calling and our loving duty of providing a homey atmosphere for our people. CLICK HERE to listen!
2. Love Increases with Knowledge
The more we know Him, the more we will desire to know Him. As love increases with knowledge, the more we know God, the more we will truly love Him.”Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God
Jen Wilkin asserts that we “cannot love what we do not know,” and I can’t think of a stronger argument for faithful and systematic Bible study. We come to know God through his self-revelation in Scripture, for he is not a God who hides himself or keeps us guessing. He is relational, and (amazingly!) desires relationship with his people.
Think of an example of a topic or a skill that became more interesting to you the more you practiced or studied it. Do you see how this could also be true of our love for God?Tweet
In Our Work and Through His Word
We come to know God intimately in our work and through his inspired Word, and this truth elevates both mundane chores AND spiritual disciplines! All legitimate work images the God Who Works and who invites us into His work. As Americans’ attitudes about work have changed throughout the pandemic, believers have the privilege of modeling a biblical attitude toward work, of demonstrating that both workaholism and The Great Resignation of 2021 are skewed.
Delighting in God’s providence as we clear clutter or prepare food and experiencing God’s power and presence through his Word will change your life. Best of all, whatever we do, if we work “as to the Lord,” we are working not only for Him but also with Him: we have the priceless privilege of practicing His presence every day.
Holding you in the Light,
“The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; in the noise and clatter of my kitchen I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees.” Note to self: This need not be unique to Brother LawrenceTweet
Looking for Rest from Your Anxiety?
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