I’m Doing the Best that I Can

If I know anything about you, it’s this: You’re trying the best you can with what you’ve got under less than ideal circumstances.  You have kids at home while working from home, and those two worlds are colliding with nuclear force.  Or, you’re upset because you try to comply with “the mask rule” but others aren’t.  And it frustrates you.  To no end.  Or, you have a deep level of angst over racial tensions, political battles, and towering division in our country.  And now it’s even creating division among your family and friends.

The drudgery you feel is palatable.  The fog is thick with no wind to clear it away.  You’re tired of the mess, and you just want things to get back to normal.

Read the next sentence very slowly.  You’re…not…alone.  Together, with the presence, peace and power of Jesus, we will endure.  We will persevere.  We will remain steadfast.  

The presence, power and peace of Jesus don’t exempt us from the travails of the world, however.  We want to follow Jesus on the mountain top, but He sends us back into the valley.  We want to do big things for God, but Jesus hands us a towel to wash others’ feet.  We want to live in the moments of inspiration, but He calls us to obedience in the mundane.

Oswald Chambers hammers home the point that “drudgery is the touchstone of character.”  Character deepens its roots in the soil of the routine, the unseen and the thankless.  

Of course, this requires a strength beyond ourselves.  Chambers goes on to say,

It requires the supernatural grace of God to live 24 hours in every day as a saint, to go through drudgery as a disciple, to live an ordinary, unobserved, ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus.  It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God; but we have not.  We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes (The Call, 254). 

This is true.  But what is not learned in five minutes alone can be learned through the accumulation of five-minute intervals linked together.  Step by step, minute by minute we learn to “do small things with big love.”  

Hudson Taylor, nineteenth-century missionary to China, used to teach, “A little thing is a little thing, but faithfulness in a little thing is a big thing.”  Mother Teresa often said, “I don’t do big things.  I do small things with big love.”

I encourage you this week to give thanks to the God who redeems the little things and grants us the strength to grow our character . . . even in the drudgery of a pandemic.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29).

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).