As soon as I read that it struck a sympathetic chord for me. One of the things that I have alluded to before is that in modern western culture we have an unfortunate tendency to compartmentalize life. We do that in a number of ways, but one of the most obvious is in our approach to religion and life. Some things, we often think, are secular and some are “sacred.” This can lead us to see some things we do as more “holy” than others. In some forms that kind of thinking can cause a dislocation of one’s spirituality. One’s faith in God does not touch how one thinks about and carries out those tasks deemed to be secular. Or at another extreme those secular tasks are considered to be unimportant. Only the “spiritual” things matter.
What God wants us to do here on earth is something we can do while doing something else. Really? So God wants us to always be multi-tasking? In a sense, I suppose. When I think of multi-tasking I picture the person I’ve seen in his car in the morning driving to work, talking on a cell phone headset and eating a bagel all at the same time. Or I picture one of my adult children in front of a laptop computer, talking on the cell phone while watching television all at the same time. Multi-tasking to me means trying to accomplish several tasks at the same time. It is a feat of mental juggling. Is that what we’re talking about here?
Not exactly. What is it that God wants us to do? The answer to that question is relatively simple to discover in God’s Word. As soon as I recite it every Christian will think, “Yes, of course. I knew that.” “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?” Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:36-38). God wants us to love him. I believe he wants us to do that no matter what tasks we may be doing. That is the thing he wants us to do while we are doing something else.
My mind seems to be continually drawn to analogies. That’s just the way it works. Perhaps I am more concrete as a thinker than theoretical, but I find that analogies give me a framework that helps me understand. They put flesh on the skeleton, if you will. Is there some analogy that can help me envision what this means to love God while doing other things? I came up with loving my wife. I can love my wife in pretty much all that I do. I can brush my teeth, shave, and shower as a way of loving my wife. As I do those mundane tasks I can do them so that it is easier for her to be around me. Yes, typically I do those things because I’m self-conscious and don’t want to gross other people out with bad breath or overwhelming body odor. But I can also choose to do them because I know it will make it easier for Laurie to be close to me, because she will appreciate it. I can love my wife as I sleep, for when I get sufficient rest I am able to be more attentive to her and can typically be more sensitive to her. I also can make it a priority to get enough rest as a way of guarding my health. Rest is a vital component in the effort to stay healthy so that I do not become a burden to her. I can love my wife in the way I eat, for I can eat the kinds and amounts of food that will, again, maintain my health and keep me from being over weight. I can love my wife in my work, being diligent to do my best so that she can be proud of me and what I do and so that I can provide for our financial needs. I can love my wife in how I spend my time, making sure to carve out time that is dedicated to just being with her. I can love my wife by including her in everything I do, informing her of what is going on, valuing her thoughts about it, doing it with her if possible. I can love my wife in the way I drive my car, being a wise and safe driver so I do not put myself or her at risk. With a little bit of thought I begin to realize that I can love my wife in just about everything I do.
And so it is with loving God. We can love him in everything we do. We can love him by how we spend our time, making sure to carve out time to be with him and to worship him, especially with other believers. But we can also love him by getting enough sleep so that we protect the health of the body he has given us. We can love him in how we do our work. We can include him in everything we do, informing him of what is going on, valuing his thoughts about it, doing it with him present. We can love him even in the way we drive our cars, making sure not to put ourselves or others at risk because we love him and his people, including those other drivers. Can I love him while watching sports on television? Um, can I get back to you on that one?
The more I think about it, the more I realize that as we view life this way it makes everything we do “sacred.” It breaks down the wall between the secular and the holy. It invites our heavenly Father into every corner of our lives. Yes, I believe that God wants us to do some spiritual multi-tasking. He wants us to do something that we can do while doing everything else in our lives. He wants us to love him!