Ministry, as simple and mundane as it may be, is most important to God.
Author’s Note: This essay was written by Red Pill Apostle on 2023/3/6. Coauthored with Jack.
Length: 900 words
Reading Time: 4.5 minutes
One observation I have on the topic of glory is that I think the very word, glory, tends to make human minds wander to the grandiose. In reality, I think we as humans glorify God in the simple and mundane more than we might think, as these are just as much created by God and subject to his sovereignty as the seemingly big ticket events. Since the majority of our lives are spent on the simple and mundane, and if the simple and mundane truly glorifies the Lord, then perhaps this is just as God intended. The trouble with this view is in thinking that glorifying the Lord through the simple and mundane is boring and thankless and thus losing motivation.
Another observation Jack had is that glorifying God is like practicing for a stage play. Long days and months go into the practice and preparation, all for a 2 hour performance. WhiteGuy1’s example of the NBA basketball star giving credit to God matches this view. Others see it as a grandiose accomplishment, and it is. But at some point, that has to be both challenging and mundane. That’s just how life goes.
So to sum up, there are two contrasting impressions about glorifying God that are unproductive and wrong-headed simply because they reframe our existential purpose of glorifying God as a vexing task.
- Glorifying God is grandiose and esoteric, and therefore difficult.
- Glorifying God is boring and tedious, and therefore taxing.
Carrying either or both of these viewpoints is an indulgence of the flesh, a curse if you will. Are you knowingly and intentionally carrying this attitude? Congratulations! You played yourself!
The Glory of Obedience
Matthew 25:40-45 gives us a clue to God’s views on the matter. This is the passage where God tells us that what we’ve done for the least of these people we have done for Him.
There is certainly an element of obedience in this passage, as we are instructed by God for how to treat others. Upon examining obedience to God more closely, it is certainly a form of glorifying God and might be the foundation upon which rests all of our purpose of glorifying God. Thinking about this more as I’m typing, I am certain of it. To disobey is to dishonor, as the very act of disobedience is to put oneself above the One giving the command. It’s rather the opposite of giving glory to Him.
So then, we bring glory to God through obedience and obedience happens in all the small, quiet moments of life in much greater number than the few big memorable events. In fact, the daily grind is necessary in order to make those big events happen.
We use our abilities, gifts, intellect, skills, and material possessions to further the Kingdom because we know that all these blessings are on loan from the Father, given to us to use for His purposes. Sometimes the use is for the extraordinary, but most of the time for the seemingly ordinary aspects of life. It helps to keep in mind that everything we have is from God and that without his provision we’d have nothing. This is why claiming that blessings are of one’s own doing, aside from the very idea being false, is a slap in the face to God.
The Glory of Purpose
Also in this passage, the focus is not on whether it is enjoyable, or profitable, or efficient, or even beneficial for either ourselves or the recipient. No, these concerns come from our own subjective human viewpoint which has a strong aversion to expense, inconvenience, and any kind of suffering. Remember brothers, there’s a special accommodation in ħә11 just for wimps!
God has made us His trustees over our own personal domain of authority and influence. So instead of putting our own pleasures first, the focus is on ministering to the physical and spiritual needs of others so that the Kingdom of God may take root, grow, and expand. This is what glorifies God.
This is not Moses hiding his face from the Israelites because his countenance was reflecting God’s glory. No, it is the long slog through life, acting in kindness when kindness is not a given, and patiently clinging to a strand of hope. Think Mother Teresa instead of the Pope.
This is not to say that glorifying God is always equivalent to or synonymous with brutal suffering. As Jack wrote in this month’s introductory post, glorifying God also involves effervescent joy, especially when we are blessed to see our family members, friends, and loved ones grow in Christian love, faith, and spiritual maturity. Self-sacrifice is merely a small but essential part — but it can be a stumbling block in fulfilling our purpose if we wish to avoid it at all costs.
In summary, glorifying God is giving the gift of ourselves to others, and that involves obedience, purpose, and suffering. Put crassly, CH style, we are God’s gift to them! It might come across as arrogant to say so, but it’s not a bad attitude to have. However, buried underneath this ostensibly proud outlook is a well-owned humility and that onerous and opprobrious state of inconvenience and suffering. If we are not sufficiently boned up on prayer and scripture, and mature enough to maintain our own hope and joy in the Lord, then we’re prone to backsliding into the default state of basic awareness — having a negative view of our lot in life.
- Σ Frame: Building Fellowship – The Problem of Disliking Each Other (2010/7/11)
- Σ Frame: The Pleasure Principle – and it’s Problems (2010/8/1)
- Σ Frame: A Simp studies Character (2010/12/26)
- Σ Frame: Developing Attitudes That Help You Cope (2015/11/5)
- Σ Frame: The Challenge of Demanding Excellence (2018/3/11)
- Σ Frame: Moral Agency is Dependent on Spiritual Maturity (2022/12/9)
Jesus worked a regular job as an Artisan for 18 years. And only 3 years was spent doing all the obviously miraculous at the end of his life until the Resurrection.
All the parables illustrate God’s personal experience in the person of Jesus with running a business, familiarity with Agriculture, and all the usual lives lived out by people. Through which the Spiritual is illustrated. And how God’s Glory even shines in various ways in mundanity.
Notice that the ratio of mundane to obviously Glorious is 6:1. 6 days of labor and on the seventh there is the Sabbath.
The Great Oak Tree indeed requires stages of growth. In the same way, mundanity builds up to Grandiosity. As the cells build up from a single fertilized egg to a whole human being.
Even in the Scientific discipline where we observe reality. It is ironic that in reality. All that is mundane is also underlain by the Majestic and Glorious.
Our body systems are a symphony of wonder. And the molecules we are made up of are micro-marvels in and of themselves. Our bodies themselves are societies of cells. Made up of Molecules with all the various wonders. And underlying it is the wonderous Quantum Realm.
Our Neurons resemble the Galaxies at large in our massive universe.
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What if creating materiality is how God for whom grandiosity is what he is used to. A way to experience mundanity. And to create vessels for blessing as much as for cursing since free will is the only way to have real relationships.
How can he who is infinite overflowing goodness otherwise enjoy what is comparatively lesser, similar to how some people like building miniatures who because of their huge fortune end up spending millions to billions on their hobbies.
God takes delight in the humble and the small in comparison to himself. Even Emperors living in Palaces dress up as commoners to enjoy being with the ordinary people and the hustle and bustle of their lives and their interesting and unique tales.
Since we are made in God’s Image. This also expands on why the humble and seemingly mundane is enjoyed by God:
Not about God directly but a particular animation genre specifically about mundanity.
Where I struggle is with how often to be doing these things. Yes, I’ll do my daily prayers, but I’ll have days where I really don’t interact with anybody and thus don’t have any opportunities to glorify God to others. On those days, did I fail? Or is it meant to go in spurts where you do something significant and then have it be, as you say, mundane for a little while? I haven’t quite figured that out yet.
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If you aren’t interacting with anybody. You should read more. It may even be an opportunity to read more of God’s word.
If there is any geopolitical events that you are thinking about or worried about then you should go to God about that, especially in those circumstances.
No, BtM you did not fail. Consider the following scenario, which happens daily. You come to a point to make a decision that you are not certain about. You trust God’s sovereignty, do what you feel lead to do, even in your uncertainty of the outcomes, and get busy working.
In this process you have correctly oriented yourself to God and trusted that what he said about himself is true. Honoring God can be that simple. The yoke really is that light.
The natural tendency for humans is to complicate things with a mindset of works based righteousness and in this mindset we constantly worry about measuring up. This makes the yoke unbearably heavy. The works we do are a free flowing response to the gift that is too good to be true in our minds, except that it’s real and the works are the Holy Spirit working through us. Basically, God does it all for us and through us for our own good. It’s hard to wrap your head around sometimes, but it’s true.
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I am in the same position. I teach classes three days a week, and the other four are spent working in my office alone. Actually, I am thankful for my schedule. But at times, I wonder whether I might be doing more for God and others if I was teaching 5 days a week. But then again, I think the quality of my teaching would suffer if I did. Being a professor who is known for being a Christian and who is concerned about student’s needs is enough.
Jesus frequently spent time alone. He liked to go to gardens and mountains to pray. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think it’s an essential part of one’s spiritual life.
Purpose, mission…… I don’t think anyone who works in their respected job once said at the age of 5, “Someday I am going to sit in a cubicle, and do a mundane 9-5, this is the mission, and goal and purpose in my work life!”
Most people just fell into their careers whatever they were. You have those exceptions…….. the guy who wants to be a surgeon from a young age, and does it. The gal who wants to be a diplomat, and does it. I had a classmate back in the 1980’s who wanted to be an airline pilot. That’s what he’s doing today (Delta). I suppose those people are needed in society. I would rather have someone flying the jet who always wanted to do that than a bum like me who fell into that field….. Well, you really can’t fall into that field. Some jobs in the world do require that special thing, drive. It’s something I wish I had from a young age…. just knowing what I wanted to do with my life from day one. Life is indeed not fair.
I do my job well. I like it, but was it my dream? Eff no. I was in my late forties, fell into it, and had to take it and make it work or else I was going to be stuck being a janitor until I died. I would have then been told by the likes of Oscar that I didn’t have provision / didn’t take opportunities…. and that is now a sin in the modern church and christianity as well.
Hence why I can never belong. I still “did it wrong”.
In these matters, I don’t owe God any thanks. I did it. It’s easy when you’re an NBA player with millions in the bank. I heard one Christian player mention offhand, “I have about 2K of hang-out money I go through a day.” Then the “I owe all this to God” statements. It’s easy to “give thanks to God” when you don’t have to worry about how you are going to pay for your kids dental work, or the passing of a relative and the funeral costs………. or you have a wife that loves you. It’s easy to give glory to God when he made you all perfect, or heaped from birth a bunch of USEFUL talents, skills, and other trappings.
Tell that to the guy who works at the recycling center at age 45 who is disfigured, lonely, has little or no provision, no chances with women. “He should be thanking God for all the amazing things he has done in his life.”
Its a bit condescending, especially from the likes of a Christian NBA player, or a Tim Tebow or Mel Gibson type of person….. or even in a church. The leaders all tell me they met their wives when they were 19. Their kids have straight A’s. Stuff like that. They have a lot to be thankful for.
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You do realize that in taking this stance, you are literally asking for the wrath of God upon your life — which is really what you’re angry about — not experiencing God, not enjoying His blessings, no inner peace, and so on.
I am really disappointed with you. You haven’t learned anything from these past few posts. You’re still stuck in envy, self-pity, and being angry with God. Like Oscar said, if you want to have a different and better experience with God, you’ll have to change your disposition about this. Start recognizing that God is good and that He rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
Question — How did you do it? With what? Who gave you that resource or enabled you to use that resource?
How did I do it? Well, I did hire a job / career counselor sometime in 2011. I was trying to find some sort of assessment of my skills and what kind of work I should be trying to pursue.
At that point in my life, I had been a janitor for about two years. I would be one for another seven.
The counselor was frank, brash, and unpleasant with me. He didn’t even counsel me on what to look for or strive for. But… After looking over everything I had done at IBM and the like, he did say, “You have been out of the high tech field for too long. You have not had stable work since 2007 really. So, right now? You have to hold this job for at least another three years to prove to any potential future employer that you can hold down a job. At your age (42 at the time), you have to demonstrate consistency, even for a promotion in a supervisory role in the janitorial / cleaning / housekeeping industry. Come back and talk to me in 2014, or 2015.”
The bill was $450.00!!!
So was that “God working through the job counselor”? No. I got no advice except for “stay in your job for at least another three years”, and I had to pay for that answer on a minimum wage salary! At the time, that was almost a months rent for that answer.
I tried to apply for other work through the Salvation Army. The response?
“Ummmm, you just don’t have what it takes.”
“We’re looking for someone who has more skills.”
“We want someone who has not had past issues with drug addiction.”
“You should be happy you have a job now.”
“Have you ever thought that this is where God needs you, and wants you to be?”
“There is no shame in this type of work.”
“You should be giving God the glory that he wants you here because he knows what is best for you.”
If I believed all this, I would still be a janitor!
I was kinda stuck. If I told the truth about my past on the applications or interviews, then I would not be considered. If I lied and they checked, then I would not be considered. I just kept working. I fell into my current field through a chance meeting at a Starbucks. No scripture. No “lessons from the bible.” No philosophical lectures about “Who am I?” No one SPEAKING for God and telling me what “He wants for me” (According to Christians, I was supposed to be a janitor. “No shame in that.” But as for THEIR son or daughter????? No, “God has “great things” planned for them!” (rolls eyes)
The only thing I had at that point was a killer work ethic, and that has proven useful in the position I hold now as well. It is not unique, because I know everyone here has a “work ethic” and I am sure they can prove God gave them a better one than me.
God didn’t make me obedient to the job. Paying the rent, keeping the lights on, and keeping my hair freshly barbered kept me obedient.
[Jack: Edited for clarity.]
No, that was you expecting another man to help you redeem your career somehow if you paid him some money. It doesn’t work that way. Same thing for impoverished people who go to finance counselors. Those people can do wonders for small businesses and people who inherited or stumbled across considerable wealth, but they can’t do anything for people who have nothing to begin with.
You were suffering as a consequence of your own foolishness, sin, or poor decisions, as I wrote about in the most recent post, The TLDR on Suffering (2023/3/10). Again, no one can change that — except God. Your repentance, diligence, and hard work since then has allowed God to help you recover from your past. In biblical terms, this is called remission. The fact that you are no longer a janitor is proof of that. That “chance meeting at a Starbucks”? That was from God.
I’m a little confused about the way you worded this. Paying the rent, keeping the lights on, and keeping your hair freshly barbered IS obedience. It is being responsible with what you have been given. Doing what you are supposed to be doing is the bare minimum. We do not receive blessings BECAUSE we are obedient, as if that were some kind of reward. But being obedient is a necessary condition for us to maximize those blessings that are given freely by God. God does bless those who are disobedient, and this is called grace.
My experience with God was, “You’re a sinner. You blew it… You will always be an addict. So just give Me the praise and worship, I need it just because…” And after ten years of hearing this, I just felt worse than I did when I first got cleaned up. Sitting in church, and at bible study, and home fellowships, every week I was hearing, “God is really working! I prayed for my son and he just got a good job! Our daughter rebelled and had a baby out of wedlock… but that was God’s plan for her life. We prayed that she would come back to church and meet a nice man….. and she did! She met the most amazing man!” (Translation: He was good looking.)
It became trite. Meanwhile, my own prayers were never answered and eventually I just accepted that God didn’t hear them, or that I was asking for the wrong thing evidently. (But if I was asking for the wrong thing, then what was I supposed to be asking for?) At times, I thought God didn’t exist.
I also noticed a distinct “classism” with Christians. Most thought they were just better than other people because they said they believed in Jesus, and their actual behavior showed differently. I came to realize that God loves some people for no reason at all, hates others for no apparent reason, and is indifferent to most.
[Jack: Edited for clarity.]
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I also had the same view of Christians for many years, during my teens and early 20’s especially. I saw them doing all kinds of impulsive, stupid, sinful things, and then they’d suddenly realize how impulsive, stupid, and sinful they were — as if they were never aware of this before. They seemed no different from the typical non-Christian. Yes, it seems very trite.
God has always answered my prayers, and often in very sudden and surprising ways. But there have been certain things that God would not give me an answer on. One time when I was in grad school, I was particularly frustrated about a certain matter, and I told God, “I am going to sit in this chair until I get an answer from you.” And that’s what I did. I sat in a chair doing nothing but praying and waiting. I didn’t get up from the chair for anything. I missed breakfast. I missed my morning class. I missed lunch. I missed work in the afternoon. The phone rang, but I did not get up to answer it. The most difficult thing about this was in fighting against the restlessness of doing nothing and making my butt stay attached to the seat. Eventually, at around 4:00 in the afternoon, I got an answer. From this exercise, I learned that sometimes you need to demonstrate to God that you are really serious about what you’re asking. The interesting thing about this is that when I went back to class and to work the next day, no one noticed my leave nor asked why I was absent the day before. They acted like nothing had happened.
Yes, virtue signaling is alive and kicking in the church, and even moreso than in the wider culture. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember. Again, Christians are not much different from non-Christians in this regard. I also suspect how many Church-goers are real Christians. My pastor told me that he thinks only about 10% of our congregation are true Christians. This agrees with my own estimations.
I do believe this is true. But I also believe that can change, although I don’t know how. It’s really up to God.
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Put me down as one who’s sympathizing with Jason on this one.
Jason has every right to be angry. He’s spent an entire life trying to build himself up and battling- and overcoming – inner demons to do it. Not only that, he’s had to battle the one group of people who were supposed to be on his side – the church.
The Church has done Jason, and millions like him, grave disservices in giving him extremely bad advice, in kicking him when he was down, in not being there for him when he needed them the most, and then in telling him all this was “God’s will”.
Sometimes we Christians, and church, are our own worst advertisements. No wonder people leave the Church. No wonder we’re so ineffectual. No wonder no one listens to us. No wonder people look at us and scoff.
Jason can make his life better and ultimately he needs God as desperately as the rest of us do. But that’s no justification for the abuse he’s suffered at the hands of evil people claiming to work “in God’s name”. It’s a travesty and a tragedy, worked on the most vulnerable and needy of us. I’m ashamed that such people claim Christ’s name in wreaking their abuse on people like Jason.
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Not all those who say “Lord, Lord” is known by Jesus.
Hey, I have great news for you. At the judgement, you’ll get to tell Him that face-to-face. Good luck with that!
Did you ever go looking for a Traditional Latin Mass like I suggested to you a while back?
I wrote a long, long response to this and then decided against it.
Wish I’d at least kept the first portion to copy and paste. Ah, well.
The main point is, you have no idea what anyone else is going through.
The most any of us can do is practice daily beneficial habits like, yes, gratitude. Envy is a habit that is destructive. Following beneficial habits and dropping destructive ones is no guarantee but odds are it will give you a much better result.
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For addictive personalities** resentment/coveting can also become an addiction.
**and I am one, so I kinda know, in fact I think everyone more or less has addictions they just choose different focuses…which is why habit pattern is so important.
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It is incredibly destructive to look at another person’s out-of-context life outcomes, re-engineer it into a fantasy that their life is or was somehow trouble free and/or handed to them. No one knows what another family is going through. Some friends just visited from a couple of assignments ago. Back then, their life looked perfect. Three kids, the oldest had just finished up as valedictorian and planned on going to med school. They lived in a large house on the beach, very affluent.
Today (ten years later), their oldest has never graduated (still in school for her BS, almost 30, never held a real job), their middle son was shot dealing drugs, their youngest just announced he wants to be a girl.
I’m not going to overshare our lives, but we all have problems.
Some are health related, some family related, the best we can do is (see above) have an attitude of gratitude (yes, even for the shyte pies…because we see things through the lens of comparison and without hardship learning is not possible and gratitude far less possible).
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Two people can be handed the same gifts and have completely different outcomes. Mom and I both married fighter pilots (well, she married a squadron commander and I married a pizza delivery student who wanted to be a fighter pilot some day but similar). Mom was the most ungrateful, angry person who felt life had let down…that I have ever known. Her life could have turned out completely different if her attitude had been different. Instead every waking hour she spent fixating on how much better her life could have been “if only”. I have spent my entire life trying to be the opposite of her example. And I’ve succeeded, for the most part.
-Done with social media for the next month or so. Hope you all have a blessed Easter.
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That’s one lesson of the Parable of the Minas (Luke 19:11-26). In it, the master (Jesus) gives His 10 servants one Mina each. When He returns, He judges them according to the return on His investment in them. Some gave him a bigger return than others, but as long as they gave Him a return on His investment, He commended them.
Its corollary is the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). In it, the Master gives each servant a different number of talents. Again, He commended the ones that gave Him a return on His investment.
Taken together, the lesson is that God doesn’t expect equal outcomes, and neither should we. He expects us to do everything we can with the blessings He gave us, but that will look different for each of us.
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When Jason fails, he claims zero agency in the matter. When Jason succeeds, he claims hyperagency.
Of what group of people does that remind anyone?
Rubbish. When I have failed, at work, in the end… it is on me, and me alone. It doesn’t matter if the contractor didn’t show up. It doesn’t matter if I get paperwork from the State or County the day before its due to be done with whatever it is they now require. I still have to own it. I do. Daily. If one of my managers is failing, or I discover a mess and stuff he has not taken care of… it is on me to do something about it. “Why wasn’t I on top of this?” is the first thing that beats on my brain.
When I have failed in life, be it with drugs, with women…. it is on me. The drugs were my problem. No one made me do them. No woman. No man. No situation. When I have failed with women, it was not the womans fault. It is straight up because I was born looking the way I do. I cannot help that. In a different time there might have been a gal who thought I was good enough for her even though she didn’t think I was “classically masculine handsome.” But those times no longer exist. The SMP started changing back when I was a teen, and then went into hyperspace. I blame myself, my genetics. If I was different, it would have been better. It’s still my problem though. I live with it daily. It’s a curse. It’s not fair, but it is still my problem.
Of what group of people does this remind you of????
Easy. I am a man. That’s it. I was born one. I don’t have to earn the title, not do I have prove said manhood to you or anyone else. On the other hand, manhood in the sphere……. in general…… has been regulated to masculine hobbies and masculine pursuits. Anymore, all that matters is how you look (and a good swath of men can’t help how they look….. sorry, me wishing for a lean jaw line with a dimple is never going to happen). How you act around women, in church, at home, at work. How big and how tall. How much you can bench press. How many IOIs. How many dates. How many test drives. It’s become so regulated and strict……… It’s like the Hebrews trying to follow every regulation, LAW, and RULE God gave them. It is impossible….. Not for you guys, evidently… but for the rest of us proles????? Impossible.
All we get is blame, shame, moving goalposts, and idiotic smear rhetoricals from you-know-who.
[Jack: Edited for clarity.]
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There you go blaming your looks again. You’re 6’3″, blond with blue eyes. Your looks aren’t the problem. Your jawline is just fine. That’s you evading agency.
As for supposedly taking responsibility for your failures, remember when you claimed you “weren’t allowed” to build wealth? That was a lie too.
Right. So, everyone who’s less fortunate than Jason (99.99….% of people ever born) is exempt from God’s requirement to be grateful. Makes sense.
Even with all that Jason has gone through the victim still has the responsibility to reach for the Good and be grateful for the Good things that he does possess.
But resentment is a powerful sinful tendency which has so far murderers millions or billions.
Exactly. Jason has every right to be angry over how people have treated him. He should be angry. It would reflect poorly if he didn’t. But he can’t stay there; he has to find the grace to let go and move on and it’s frustrating to have to sit and wait for someone to get sick of being in that state. Some people never do. I imagine this is how God feels when He’s waiting on us to get our head out of our own @sses. I do know this much: browbeating him for his attitude isn’t going to help until he’s open to it. And right now, he’s not.
@Bardelys the Magnificent
The Scripture gives us evidence that God allows much evil. But at the same time He avenges Himself on evil.
Jason if you are also reading this. Channel your feelings into a Prayer for ultimate Vengeance as is God’s prerogative and or repentance of the former perpetrators.
Either way, Justice will be done. God will Avenge. God will repay.
After that you can unburden yourself of Anger afterwards because God will take care of Business.
That may not be a good idea for a man who hasn’t repented himself to pray for God’s vengeance.
Alright. Once proper repentance has occurred. Then injustice and what has been done has to go towards that.
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