The Drudgery of Business

Feb 20, 2020

I was reading my meditation early this morning, and as is typical, the teaching always seems to be perfectly aligned with exactly what I’m feeling on any particular day.

Today was one of those days where I was dreading some of the administrative stuff I needed to accomplish. A sense of dread or drudgery is something I rarely experience, but right now I have a lot of creative projects I’m working on, so anything outside the scope of that work is, well, frankly, annoying.

You know how it goes. There are things we love doing in our daily business. There are things we can easily delegate. And, then there are those other things. The stuff we wish we could delegate but, for a variety of reasons, simply must do ourselves.

So, here I was, silently reading when God hit me with a painful realization. I hate when this happens because I was already committed to feeling sorry for myself. But, then, the words on the page pierced through, and I knew that I knew that drudgery is part of the game.

The title of the piece was “Taking Initiative Against Drudgery.

Really? It was the last thing I felt like doing, but I somehow found myself incapable of swiping the page. I read on.

Let me paraphrase. The message started with a statement about the importance of taking the first step against drudgery. In other words, don’t wait on God or someone else to bail you out. It’s not going to happen.

Apparently, that particular body of work that your dreading is actually an opportunity to move into an obedient state.

Oh, Oswald, give me a break, I thought to myself. It’s paperwork for goodness sake.

But, then it hit me.

Many of the business owners I work with will admittedly state that they have, at one time or another, felt called to their work.

The reading went on:

“Whenever God gives us His inspiration, suddenly taking the initiative becomes a moral issue—a matter of obedience.”

This means we are called to action. We must do something. When we do, the drudgery will be divinely transformed.

Oswald went on to say that drudgery is the stuff that is less than our ideal version of work. Drudgery represents the “hard, menial, tiresome, and dirty work” we’d much rather avoid.

Yes, I’d much rather do the creative work (like writing to you), but I’m equally called, as are you, to obediently attend to the less attractive tasks in between.

As if this wasn’t a hard enough pill to swallow, Oswald went on to remind that after all, Jesus did wash the feet of the Apostles.

Okay, that’s a low blow, Oswald, because how can I compete with that kind of obedience? It’s paperwork for goodness sake!

The message got even harder to swallow.

Drudgery is “one of the finest tests to determine the genuineness of our character” and our spirituality.

Okay, a huge leap here.

I give up. Off to the computer I go.

But, as the day wore on, and I completed more and more of the mundane tasks, I found myself in full agreement.

If the calling is real, we have to be willing to do all of it. The creative stuff, the fun stuff, and even the stuff that feels less than pleasant or fruitful. It’s kind of like rearing a child. You can’t expect to fully appreciate the joy of that child if you haven’t been through the drudgery of late night feedings and dirty diapers or worried yourself sick past a 10 o’clock curfew.

Today, the wisdom of Oswald Chambers reminded me once again that the mundane aspects of life are really an opportunity to exercise obedience and to be grateful for the work and the life I have.

His final reminder for the day:

“When the Lord does something through us, He always transforms it.”

If you don’t believe in God, and the drudgery of business and life is nipping at your heels, all I can say is, do that stuff anyway and watch what happens.

You just might be surprised at how obedience and commitment play out in the day-to-day moments of life.