Light in the Drudgery

Light in the Drudgery

Job 7:1-4,6-7 | 1 Corinthians 9:16-19,22-23 | Mark 1:29-39

Go throughout Hayes Town as Jesus went throughout Galilee, preaching the good word of Jesus Christ, not by screaming about how happy he makes you, but by showing you how he helps you and reveals the light of God, little bit by little bit, amongst the darkness.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen. Please sit. Oh, my gosh. Hasn’t it been a long winter? I don’t know about you, but I am sick to the back teeth of dark mornings and of dark evenings.

It has felt like drudgery. I love that word, drudgery. It’s why I enjoy the book of Job. Because I think job speaks to what it’s really like to be a Christian. Sometimes, day in, day out, it is drudgery.

And it’s okay to feel like that. Sometimes you feel like, well, if I’m a Christian, I should have sufficient faith that I am joyful in the Lord. That’s the word. Joyful in the Lord. Now, to be joyful in the Lord doesn’t mean that you have to be saccharine.

You have to be happy. You have to be jolly. You don’t have to try and emulate me all of the time. No. Being joyful in the Lord means understanding that even when things are hard, even when you’re not feeling happy, you can take inner joy in knowing that God is walking with you.

That’s what job teaches us, even though his life is one of drudgery. And doesn’t he use such wonderful language to express that drudgery? When will it be day? Lying in bed wondering when it will be day. We’ve all led in bed, not able to sleep with worries and concerns on our heart.

When will it be day? And then when we do get up, what do we think? Oh, how slowly evening comes. Those worries and those concerns and the work that we’re doing. It feels like we’re not getting anywhere.

That drudgery walks through the day with us. But Job had that joy in God. He was able to walk that path of drudgery. He was able to walk that path of hardship and carry them because he knew, he absolutely knew that God was doing it with him.

The thing is, of course, that that doesn’t actually make you feel any better, does it? It doesn’t put an extra skip in your step. It doesn’t make you smile. And nor should you expect it to. Because we are human beings that experience happiness and experience sadness.

And that drudgery is something that we should embrace.

Not to change. Not to say, I want to change this drudgery, not to say I want to do something different, but to say, okay, this is what it is like living this life now. Because I know that I will be with God in eternity. My faith. I will keep my faith because eternity is more important, if we think about that, as I started with winter, what are we starting to see now?

I’m sick to the back teeth of the dark mornings and the dark nights and of the cold and of the wet. But what are we seeing now? We are seeing the shift to spring. And each morning I wake up, it’s a little bit brighter. And each morning, each evening, each morning I go back to bed.

Each evening I go back to bed, it’s a little bit lighter. And that is what our faith in God does when we are walking in drudgery. When we are walking in difficulty, that faith makes things a little bit brighter each day a little bit better.

Now, the trick, of course, and our duty as christians is to share that little bit that we’ve been given that little bit of light with people that we know. And that is exactly what Paul is talking about in our second reading. I do not boast of preaching the gospel since it is a duty which has been laid on me. I should be punished if I don’t preach it. Paul is telling us that that little bit of light, that little bit of encouragement is what will bring other people to faith.

It is not being joyfully jumping up and down the street saying, I love Jesus, and he’s made absolutely everything wonderful. But it is how you behave as a Christian when you are in drudgery, when you are in difficulty and you are able to see that little bit of light, that is where people will be able to see your faith and go, there is something here, there is something worth following, because God is with me, not just when I am happy, but God is with me in the drudgery. He brings it out a little bit more. He says, for the weak, I made myself weak. I made my things to all men in order to save some at any cost.

What he is talking about is sharing how God works in our lives in a way that other people can understand and other people can see. And the reality is most people walking around are not walking around high on Jesus. Most people are walking around, if we are honest, carrying a degree of drudgery.

Now, we can either find that depressing and difficult and throw up our hands and go, well, then what’s the point? Or we can go, I shall keep my faith strong as job kept his faith, and I shall use that little bit of light to show others who are struggling that this is a good and wonderful path. That God, that Jesus is that extra two minutes of light at the end of every day is that extra two minutes of light every morning. That is what will move people’s hearts. Even Jesus.

Even Jesus in our gospel faces drudgery. You can hear it speaking loud through that gospel, I think, can’t you? Jesus is, he heals. He goes to Simon and his mother in law of Simon is feeling ill, so he heals Simon’s mother in law. And then before he knows it, there is a crowd at the door demanding, wanting things.

Do this, Jesus, do this. Do this for me. And Jesus heals all of the people. He brings life out of death. And what does he do at the end of that demanding time?

People have demanded this power, this healing, all of this of Jesus. What does jesus do? He goes off somewhere quiet and he prays. And so jesus gives us the model of what to do when we feel like everything is just pushing on us and demanding everything of our time when we’re in that drudgery. Jesus says, by doing, take yourself off somewhere quiet and pray.

He does it in the early morning, the quiet hours of the morning. And so he gives us a new model. A new model to what job was talking about. That’s the point of the new covenant with Jesus Christ over the old covenant in the Old Testament with job. He lies in bed going, when will it be day?

But Jesus takes himself off and prays, there’s the answer to the drudgery. Pray. Call on Jesus and say, I can’t see the light, Lord. All I can see is the drudgery. Where is the extra two minutes at the start of the day?

Where is the extra two minutes at the end of the day? Lord, show me. Pray that your eyes will be open to see that extra light. That’s the model that Jesus gives us. And then he says, of course it is time for us to move on.

And I can’t help but that feeling very prescient as I prepare to move on. Jesus does the work in front of him and it is wonderful and it is good. And then he says, we’ve done this here, it’s time to move on. And that is what Jesus is telling us all. Because when we do the job of work in front of us, when we speak to people about that little bit of extra light, you have to keep going.

You have to find the next person. You have to find the next thing that God is calling you to do. You have to go to the next thing that God wants you to do because it’s ever so easy to become very comfortable and to stop listening to what God is calling you to do. So I think a wonderful collection of readings this morning at this point in the year when we are sick of winter, when we are sick of drudgery, when we are wondering what on earth it is we are doing with our lives, when we are feeling depressed and down. A reminder that Jesus will not suddenly make us happy, but that Jesus will show us that extra little bit of light.

And if we can’t see it, then we should pray to see it. We should find some rest, and we should see where God is calling us and what God is calling to us next.

Go throughout Hayes Town as Jesus went throughout Galilee, preaching the good word of Jesus Christ, not by screaming about how happy he makes you, but by showing you how he helps you and reveals the light of God, little bit by little bit, amongst the darkness. Amen.