Stuck in the Humdrum: 4 Lessons of Hope

For a summer college internship, I ran a Boy Scout Camp kitchen. My team and I were cracking eggs by 6:30 A.M. My arms ached stirring dozens at a time in a heavy cast iron skillet. After breakfast, we scrubbed pans and prepped for lunch. A gap between lunch and supper allowed a couple of hours for other activities before starting the evening meal.

Besides preparing meals, I planned menus and calculated how much food to order while trying to stay on budget. Keeping a group of active males fed is time consuming. Maybe that is why I’m fascinated by the example Jesus chose of who He’ll reward at His return. His words reminded me of the importance of doing ordinary things well.

The example of a faithful servant:

Jesus didn’t spotlight an esteemed synagogue teacher or a powerful political leader as an example that pleases Him. He described someone involved in the humdrum, never ending work of feeding a household ( Matthew 24:45-47 ).

Being goal-oriented, I often view these tasks as interruptions to meaningful work. But, according to Scripture, that is not true. Routine tasks are not bothersome distractions. They form the backbone of life. There is good evidence that faithfulness in routine tasks pleases God more than building an empire impresses us. Changing diapers, cleaning up spills, and going over homework is God-pleasing work.

Lesson: Faithfulness tops sensational accomplishments.

The example of a modern day missionary:

A missionary told me how much time he spent sitting in stuffy government buildings wading through bureaucratic red tape just to be able to live in the country he served. I realized mission trips that are packed with productivity and little waste of time are not a realistic view of life on the mission field. Life in ministry is no less cluttered with what appear to be time eaters than any other life. In fact, serving Christ in the secular and vocational Christian realms may invite more interference because we have the additional aspect of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6).

Lesson: God’s will includes delays and hassles.

The example of a great patriarch

Abraham is remembered as one of the greatest men listed in all of history and the Bible. What did Abraham do? Most of his long life he tended flocks and oversaw his household. What sets him apart is his complete faith in God. Called God’s friend, Abraham moved when God said move. He sent a rebellious son away when God said to let him go. He offered his only son as a sacrifice when God tested him. Abraham’s faith and love for God, not his accomplishments, set him apart.

Lesson: Trusting God is the highest achievement.

The example of the talents

In the parable of the talents, an owner distributed talents to three servants according to their abilities. He rewarded the two who used their talents and punished the one who buried his. Was the master rewarding achievement? Listen to his words. “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

Lesson: Faithfulness pleases God and produces joy!

Application: How would viewing mundane tasks as service to God affect my daily energy and attitude?

I needed to remember that routine tasks frame life like bones support a body. Happy is the one who appreciates the ordinary aspects of life. When Christ returns, may we hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master!”

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Debbie W. Wilson

Linking to: #livefreeThursday

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  1. Jen

    As someone who transitioned from working mom to SAHM, it took me a loooong time to downshift and learn this lesson. The world tells us that we have to be doing something better than someone else in order to matter. But the truth is we have to be doing what God calls us to do and no more. It has been during these last three years that I have finally learned to listen to him and not the noise of the world.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Oh, Jen, what a priceless lesson that can only be learned by doing it. It is a hard lesson when the world says the opposite. One I’ve had to remind myself of many times.

  2. dana


    I’m gonna hug my humdrum. lol. Thanks for reminding us that the humdrum is indeed wonderful service and thank God we have someone to serve.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes, Dana! 🙂

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