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24th June: Two Sides of Life (1) -- The Trivial Round

And he (Jesus) went down with them (Joseph and Mary) and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them... And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man. Luke 2:51-52

Every life has its share of the trivial round. A medical life, no matter what form of special aspects it embraces, has its dull side and its routine. The exciting and romantic things in the television medical series don't happen all the time. Pity help us if they did! No mortal frame could stand it. Busyness and pressures come -- and often don't go, even when we feel we have had more than enough. But the boring side can come too -- and can seem just as interminable and unacceptable. Both must be copied with.

Putting aside the problem of frenetic activity for the moment, let's look at the trivial round in the light of our Master's experience. Do we realise that before the few years of his actual ministry, about eighteen years of his life (between the age of twelve and thirty) were spent in Nazareth growing up as the carpenter's son? For most of that time, we may fairly assure, he worked in Joseph's carpenter's shop.

What a trivial beginning for the most important life ever lived in mankind's history! He must have been aware (as Mary was) of his own destiny, and we can only remotely and quite inadequately guess at what went on in his mind as he did the routine jobs. One thing we can feel sure about is that the jobs would have been done well.

Does it seem too much of a platitude to emphasise that for us it is still and always important to do the trivial things well? No matter how boring they seem to us, they matter to those who are seeking help, and they are worth doing. It is all part of our reasonable service (Rom 12:1 AV) and our spiritual worship (RSV).

The trivial round, the common task,
Will furnish all we ought to ask;
Room to deny ourselves; a road
To bring us daily nearer God.

John Keble.

Further reading: Lk 2:39-52.


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