Where's Your Workshop?
Where’s Your Workshop?
“Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” (Rom 12:1 The Message)
A workshop is a special place. Generally, it is a room or building which provides both the area and the tools necessary to perform some sort of work. It has a special purpose – it is not a garage, or a storeroom, or a lounge, or a playroom. It has special items arranged in a special way to help fulfill that purpose – clutter is generally kept to a minimum, so the work goes more smoothly. To the craftsman, the workshop is a serious place – not a place for playing, but certainly a place for pleasure.
The pleasure of a well-made tool. The pleasure of a job well done. The pleasure of fulfillment.
Christians talk a great deal about “working on their relationship with God.” I talk about it with my students, and I heard someone mention it in public the other day. They were talking about some struggles in their life, and they said, “I know I really need to work on my relationship with God.”
If you feel that way — like you need to work on your relationship with God – today’s question is for you. Where is your workshop? When it comes to working on life with God, does your workshop look like Jesus’ workshop? Where did Jesus work on his relationship with God – and where did he shape the with-God relationships of others?
I think that when we say, “I need to work on my relationship with God,” we have good intentions at heart. I really do – I just think that we wall off most of our life from that work. Richard Beck suggests that it often means “Praying more, getting up early to study the bible, to start going back to church. Things along those lines. The goal of these activities is to get ‘closer’ to God. To ‘waste time with Jesus.’ Of course, please hear me on this point, nothing is wrong with those activities. Personal acts of piety and devotion are vital to a vibrant spiritual life and continued spiritual formation. But all too often ‘working on my relationship with God’ has almost nothing to do with trying to become a more decent human being.”
Open your Gospels and look. I think you’ll be surprised at what you find. While he spent time alone in prayer and meditation, and he certainly taught his disciples (including us) to do these things, where do we meet Jesus most of the time? On the road, at the Temple, and at the table, where he constantly came into contact with others and touched people with the light and joy and compassion of the kingdom of God.
Maybe the workshop where we work on relationships with God is a bit more like a plumber’s truck – where all the tools are neatly arranged and available, all the skills of the craftsman are ready, but where time spent alone is always time preparing for the real work of fixing pipes, unclogging drains, and restoring the flow of life-giving water to parched places. A mobile God-workshop – sound like a good life? Then let’s live it!