Last night I listened to a conversation between a couple of Clay st. dwellers. Somehow the subject of pointless jobs came around. The guy who worked at DollarTree had the floor it brought back something I’d also experienced.
Here at Bethel we’re “prepped for greatness,” we are told just how awesome God made living and how it’s all a free gift of Grace. Great, but what about the DollarTree-Man? DollarTree-Man (DTM), lives in a tent in the ravine, one row of houses back. DTM bikes in the rain to work, as does his wife; wanna talk about “menial” or “working for the man.” So where does this ‘meaningful life’ come in here?
I remember thinking similarly about faith when I was in youthgroup. I remember preparing a sermon and thinking about the half dozen or so students whose lives, truly, sucked. I remember thinking ‘Do I believe that God is with them? That their belief is actually worth it?’ We have to come to a point where you can honestly say to the homeless, the starving, and the hopeless, trust in God. Yes! Trust in Him even though I don’t have to trust as much as you will.
So back the party. I return (from in my head) where DTM picks up with his story.
[paraphrase sorry] – “My boss always gives me 2 hours of work due in an hour and they don’t pay overtime…and I was starting to get really stressed out. I was freaking out about work… But then you think about what Christ did. About how He died so that everything could be given to me…. If God raised Him from the dead then what do I have to worry about? What is there to stress out about if death can’t even stop me? All things are possible.”
I’m not even sure how working at the DollarTree suddenly became so glorious, but that’s the only word I can use to describe it. That we work, live and breathe in the life God has given us and that is somehow glorious. I reminded me of on night last August working at the pet store.
Ah that wretched existence. There wasn’t a costumer in the store and my manager had given me the fantastic chore scrubbing the algae off of over 80+ fish tanks. I had just been attacked by several very large parrots (‘large,’ as in, I was lucky to still have all my fingers). Better yet the salt water, I was up to shoulder deep in, made the cuts on my arms sting and get all red and puffy. Oh and I had 3 hours to go, and after an hour and a half of this job I would get to clean the diarrhea-filled puppy pen in the back room. Joy. There was nothing to look forward to, and nothing pleasant in my near past. Wretched. That was the only word to describe my existence at that moment. It was a pathetic survival and I had nothing to look forward to anytime soon since I planned on working there for another year before coming here to Bethel.
While everything seemed to point towards hating life I can remember a moment when everything stopped. When I could see myself scrubbing those awful fish tanks yet the presents of God was also there. It sounds cheesy, or out of place, perhaps far too Christian to be edgy, yet there He was. Somehow He, gracing me with his Presents, was Grace enough for me. That it mattered for Him enough to be there. There, not in the twitchy, charismaticy, way but in the still, quiet, SUDDEN Presents of God. As you can imagine, the fish tanks got very clean that night. The menial wasn’t any less menial, but it was far more glorious.
That, indeed, is what Christ died for. Yes, we are called to live greatness, we are called to dream big and reach far, to jump into the unknown. It’s just that it could look like anything. Anything God puts value on is suddenly valuable. That’s what living greatness is, living in his perfect will puts a value on whatever He wants. It’s how we live a life He paid for in blood at the DollarTree and in the White House.
“You make everything Glorious, and I am Yours” --David Crowder*Band