Brother Lawrence said in his Practicing the Presence of God, that “GOD… regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.” (Fourth Conversation)
We may know this is true in the awareness of our own experience of the practice of the Presence of God: that when we purge ambition, and focus instead on doing what small things we do with the grandeur of doing them for Him only, we do experience His veritable Presence.
And then we come back to the irrepressible reality: work is hard, much of it goes unappreciated, and the multipronged demands of the world push us clean into the busyness of despair too many times to honestly reflect. As Richard Ashcroft of The Verve says in their song, Bittersweet Symphony (1997), “… it’s a struggle. Life’s a struggle. And Monday morning may be a struggle for a lot of you in a job that you despise, working for a boss that you despise; a slave to money, then we die. God bless ya.”
Everyone, bar none, has the same living challenge to reconcile: to enjoy work. For life to go well we must work. We cannot escape it. And it’s not just paid work that causes us to lament our lives; it’s those family, community and volunteer roles we can’t get out of or that we overcommitted ourselves to. Somehow, we need to make these tasks feel like they’re labours of love, if we wish to do them well for others, and enjoy them ourselves.
Brother Lawrence’s quote helps. If we do every task with love as we perform them, God will fill us with His Presence more and more.
It takes courage to keep going when living the schedule of life seems murderous. If we break our moments down, live in the moment, enjoy it the best we can, remembering God’s there with us, then we make drudgery into joy.