Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Relationship Between Harmony and the Menial Task

by Danetta Kellar

Clink, clink, swoosh. Clink, clink, clink. In the middle of the workday, I could barely hear my husband’s voice on the telephone against the tinkling of something in the background. 

“Are you washing dishes again?” I asked him.

Sheepish silence.

“You are. You are washing dishes. Again.”

He wears his position of influence at work under the humble garb of humility, a willingness to do the menial task. He has always done this, the menial, no matter where we have lived in the world. He serves his family and his friends, even the stranger in this way. It annoys me sometimes, in my stubborn pride and the sheer inconvenience of service to others. But over the years I am learning from him how to lay my life down in the smallest, unnoticed ways.
My husband has mastered a life principle that comes slowly to many of the rest of us.

Harmony with others finds its foundation in humility, in a willingness to take on the lowly tasks, the ones no one else really wants to do. 

Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty [conceited, self-important, exclusive], but associate with humble people [those with a realistic self-view]. Do not overestimate yourself. -Romans 12:16, AMP  
*Note that the phrase “associate with humble people” is also translated as “willing to do menial work” (NIV NOTES).
Our estimation of our own importance and the importance of others is reflected in our willingness to bow low and serve, to know realistically that we are no better than the homeless man we sit beside on the park bench, the woman we wait behind in the carpool, the mother who is struggling to keep her cool in the grocery store while her child throws a tantrum. 

We are all equal in the most essential way of humanity. We need a Savior. 

In a culture of overestimation and narcissistic self-worship, this is a shocking admonition. Self-esteem and self-promotion books line the bookstore shelves, making the bestseller lists month after month. We are given myriad tools to save ourselves, or so they purport. 

The myth of man’s inherent goodness is nurtured and protected, groomed and sheltered like a rare and fragile plant. What really grows, however, is pride and disharmony in an already fractured world. Our common need for a Savior becomes more pronounced against this backdrop of brokenness.

Harmony with one another is discovered in the most surprising place. It is found in the place of humility, of willingness to do the menial task, of having a realistic view of oneself as a person equal to others in her profound need for a Savior.

Associate with humble people.

Be a humble person with whom others can associate.

Take up the honor of the lowly chore today and set your thoughts upon the Savior who took off His majesty to wear humanity, the One who took off the towel to wash the dust of weary feet, the One who stopped to sit awhile with an outcast woman at a well. 

Become an instrument of harmony in a discordant world.


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