Big Purpose Behind Small Tasks

There’s a Big Purpose Behind Every Small, Unseen Task

Every year in late spring, we till up an admirable crop of rocks as we prepare the garden soil for planting. Some years I have been diligent about collecting them. Other years . . . not so much. Regardless, there always seems to be a plentiful supply, and after twenty plus years of gardening in this one space, one does wonder where all these rocks are coming from!

The deeper question, however, is always “why?” and Christians with our teleological view of nature are driven to press into the goal or purpose (in Greek, the telos) of even the most insignificant created things.

On this rural hill of sandy soil, whatever could be the design behind such an abundance of rocks working their way to the surface of our growing space every spring?

Falling into the category of “all things,” it’s possible, I suppose, that they join all the other “things” in the Romans 8:28-29 universe that “work together for good.” They are part of the constellation of “things” that, work toward the ultimate good God has in mind for His child:  conformity to the image of His Son.

It’s a sobering thought that my attitude toward the quotidian task of piling rocks into a rusty wheelbarrow makes one whit of a difference, but then, this seems to be the way of the following life. We are called to become small, to bend low, and to do the unseen and thankless task because this was the way of the Cross. The God Who makes the sun rise every day and Who has ordained that one season should follow another in unbroken rhythm has invited me into humdrum and repetitive tasks because, even in this, He is at work.

We are called to become small, to bend low, and to do the unseen and thankless task because this was the way of the Cross.

So, as I dump the smaller rocks into the ruts in our driveway or simply upend the entire contents of the wheelbarrow onto the growing rock pile in the bushes near the garden, God is at work in the invisible realm. He is at work in me.

I have a feeling that our supply of rocks won’t be running out anytime soon.
They still have a lot of work to do!

Holding You in the Light,

The God Who makes the sun rise every day and Who has ordained that one season should follow another in unbroken rhythm has invited me into humdrum and repetitive tasks because, even in this, He is at work.

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42 thoughts on “There’s a Big Purpose Behind Every Small, Unseen Task”

  1. Where DO those rocks come from?? It’s odd how they can reappear in areas where we’ve cleaned them out before.

    I was reading somewhere that if we make things we need to do into habit, then that removes the emotion from them. I haven’t found that to be true. Maybe they were talking about removing emotion from the decision-making process–when we make something a habit. we get it done whether we feel like it or not. But I can still feel pretty negative about doing things I don’t care for or feel are a waste of time. Then I get convicted that’s not really doing everything as unto the Lord. I don’t know why so much of life is made up of repetitive tasks–maybe they’re just a consequence of living in a fallen world, or are supposed to teach us patience and perseverance. May I learn their lessons and remember for whom I do them.

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  2. I don’t garden but I wonder where the rocks keep coming from! What a great way to think of it though – that these seemingly endless and mundane tasks are part of the “all things” God works for our good. We have to practice being faithful in these small things.

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  3. “There are no unsacred moments; there are only sacred moments and moments we have forgotten are sacred”–Andrew Peterson (in the foreword of Douglas McKelvey’s book, Every Moment Holy). In that frame of mind, even rock gathering for the umpteenth time in the same place is sacred as it forges our self-discipline and perseverance. By the way, McKelvey’s prayers and liturgies in this book find the sacredness in such mundane tasks as laundry, washing windows, and even changing diapers! His insights are breath-taking; his prose reads like poetry.

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  4. We live in the desert Southwest where people frequently do different kinds of rock landscaping. For the first few years, I wondered what someone who lived here before us had put in my flower beds because those rocks just kept coming. But after 16 years here, I have come to realize they just happen. How like so many other things in life. Even when you think you have gotten most of the rocks out of one area, there’s another one to be worked on. 🙂

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  5. Love, Love, Love this, “We are called to become small, to bend low, and to do the unseen and thankless task because this was the way of the Cross.” Such a beautiful truth Michele. I will be pondering this often.

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  6. While it’s frustrating to keep pulling up those rocks there is a scientific explanation for how they slowly work their way towards the surface that I do find fascinating… just annoying. LOL.

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  7. Hi Michele, loved your post. Its the every day, not in the public eye, not the popular, that is just as valuable to the Lord. The folding of sheets, the picking up behind others, all to the glory of God, it is these things that grow us and lead us closer to the Lord. Visiting from anchored truth Tuesday
    God bless
    Tracy

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  8. Michele, I love this tender post. The reminder that oftentimes it’s not the size or kind of task that is important, so much as our heart in the doing of it. I’m thankful for God’s grace as He conforms me into the image of His Son.

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  9. Will you Instagram this so I can share on stories? Aren’t we cool using this vocabulary? That first quote. I turned down the pitch graciously.

    I pitched Lore of A Curious Faith. She said yes.

    I’m a little sick. Mark has Covid. Friends are bringing meals. I will be in bed if you need me.

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  10. Oh, those rocks! Probably the reason for all those stone walls! I remember the clinks and the clunks of hoe against rock! They are a great picture of us humbly doing the small tasks

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  11. I always have such a hard time commenting here. Every time I try something different to see if it works. I hope it does work as I really enjoy your posts and want to comment. I suppose the rocks are the price we pay for such a beautiful garden?

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  12. Now I see that I can’t use my blog site and instead have to sign in to gravatar which doesn’t link back to my blog.

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  13. I think this is very well written. Thank you for it. If I found many rocks in my yard I would use them for good. I’d make a narrow path out of it 🙂

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  14. […] “The God Who makes the sun rise every day and Who has ordained that one season should follow another in unbroken rhythm has invited me into humdrum and repetitive tasks because, even in this, He is at work.”  Read Michele Morin’s post, “There’s a Big Purpose Behind Every Small, Unseen Task” HERE. […]

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