David M. Goehring

Brother Lawrence was a 17th century French monk who spent most of his life as a humble monastery cook (shoe cobbler was another of his noble professions). Not much is known of his life, save for his collection of letters and writings in what is now known as the classic, “The Practice of the Presence of God.”

The man was brilliant. He understood, as a simple cook, what the wisest and intellectually astute of our age fail to grasp. And what this mama fails to grasp, time and time again.

Who we are is not defined by what we do. Our daily work is given to us as a gift from Him, not as the etched nameplate of our identity. The liturgy of laundry and scrubbing of bowls is a divine opportunity to give Him glory — not only by using their monotonous rhythm to focus on prayer, but to do our work well as a means to please Him. To give Him thanks for an opportunity to serve.

From God’s perspective, there is no difference between twilight hours of Scripture reading and running our daughter to ballet class with a happy heart. Our moments of paying bills on time and sweeping the floor under the highchair are as glorious as kneeling before His throne, hands upward in praise.

It was said that:

“Even in the busiest times in the kitchen, Brother Lawrence still preserved his recollection and heavenly-mindedness. He was never hasty nor loitering, but did each thing in its turn with an even, uninterrupted composure and tranquility of spirit. ‘The time of work,’ said he, ‘does not with me differ from the time of prayer. In the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great a tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Supper.’”

Do you praise Him in your daily work?

As mamas, we can radiate the beauty of grace when we kiss owies and bless them with Band-Aids.

When we work diligently in the workplace and handle the drudgery of paperwork with thanksgiving, we recognize God as the giver of all good gifts.

When our husbands relay their excitement about the playoffs and we listen intently without our minds wandering, we acknowledge God’s creativity in how He has crafted us each uniquely with passions, gifts, and desires.

We can gladly sweep the early fall leaves off our front porch, knowing He is honored when we steward the home He has blessed us with.

We can fold the laundry — again and again and again — knowing that He is honored because we are delighting in where He has us.

When my firstborn was an infant, I had this quote from Brother Lawrence inked on a notecard and thumbtacked to the wall:

“We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”

You can change diapers to the glory of God. Be encouraged that His Spirit pours forth over your hands as you work, diligently, diligently, diligently, for His pleasure.

What seemingly monotonous tasks do you have today? How can you honor your Maker through them?

By Tsh, Simple Mom

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  1. 1

    This is such a profound lesson and causes a paradigm shift when we walk in it. It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord will just “download” a lesson while I have my hands in the sink or am moving clothes into the dryer. I used to think that my tasks interfered with my ability to serve/worship Him. When He revealed that I was serving and worshiping Him through my tasks, it changed everything! Such freedom! Thank you for testifying to His truth!! I love it when the Spirit confirms a message through the testimony of another.

  2. 2

    What a wonderful and important post. I have been praying (a lot) lately and I find that sometimes, when I’m really quiet I can hear him answer. And other times, when I’m multi-tasking and hurried, he gives me the message I needed most – this is that message.
    Have a blessed Sunday!!!

  3. 3

    I love this! Thanks for the reminder. At my job in an elementary school library, I always love the time I have to do the simple work of feeding teachers’ and kids’ creations through the laminator- that’s when I take time to pray for my own kids, my family, my day. Turning the mundane tasks into times of prayer and closeness to God is a great way to make your day count!

  4. 4

    I LOVE this post! It is a great reminder to enjoy the little things in life. Our attitudes and countenance are the building blocks of life! Thank you for sharing!

  5. 5

    What a timely post! I need so many reminders that what I’m doing is worthwhile and valuable. I was such a victim of the whole “you are what your job is” mentality and have always felt a lot of pressure to ‘be something’. I struggled for years in college, ping ponging back and forth between varying majors all to end up as a stay-at-home-mom. And I love it (most days)!
    It’s so refreshing to hear that there are moms that sometimes lose sight of this too. I never sat back and realized how much opportunity I get during the day to pray-what a blessing!
    Next time I’m feeling a little down about myself I’ll remember sweet Brother Lawrence & strive for his tranquility.
    Thanks for the great post!

  6. 6

    Tsh, you words wrapped their arms around my heart just when I needed them most. In the middle of a weekend of errands, cleaning, all the mundane that has to be done–you reminded me that LOVE is what matters most of all. I love how you said it, “Our daily work is given to us as a gift from Him, not as the etched nameplate of our identity.” Thank you for this beautiful, powerful post!

  7. 7

    Ahhh, yes. One of those things I agree with with my whole heart but have not yet learned to practice all the time… I remember a stage when I tried to imagine that as I was changing diapers for my children that I was changing them for Jesus when He was a baby. : ) “The liturgy of laundry…” Lord, let me see it that way!!! Just as God over and over and over others to give me another breath or heartbeat, I can bless my family with clean clothes and a smile on my face – and in my heart. That is worship indeed.

  8. 8

    Great post. Encouraging to me. I feel like I am finally ‘getting’ it. Reading Ann Voskamp and taking part in her Multitude Monday has definitely helped me to see this. Reading this at this particular time is God using you to tell me I’m headed in the right direction. I have often heard of this book and now I really want to read it for myself! Thank you. I really am seeking to really love being home with my kids and being content with where God wants me right now. To find happiness in doing the menial tasks of my daily life.

  9. 9

    You would adore the book “wisdom Distilled From the Daily” Living the rule of st Benedict today by Joan Chittister. Best book ever on the sacredness of Daily Living.

  10. 10

    I try to think of everything I do as a prayer, so that I pray without ceasing. So today after church, I am going to prayerfully clean the house and do laundry (!). Sometimes when I am not feeling very prayerful about my daily tasks (most always), I try to remember to be grateful. For example, I’m grateful that I have a house to clean. I’m grateful that I have clean water that comes right to my house. I’m grateful that I can afford appliances and products to make my daily tasks easier. If I keep saying it, eventually I actually feel grateful!

  11. 11

    Thank you for this.

  12. 12

    What a wonderful concept. Thanks so much for sharing! I wonder how many other people there are that are profound thinkers, but so quiet about it.

  13. 13
    Anonymous says:

    Loved this! My task for the day was going to the farmer’s market, which is hardly monotonous. =) But I love the concept that my joy in the sunlight bouncing off tomatoes and butternut squash as I gather yummy food for my family this week could be considered an act of worship. How beautiful!

  14. 14

    Whoops! That was me. =)

  15. 15

    People in every country take the mortgage loans in different creditors, because this is comfortable and fast.

  16. 16

    Tsh! Loved this post and was totally blown away when I read you were writing about Brother Lawrence…I actually have a post in draft right now about his writings!

    Beautiful article.

  17. 17

    I have had this little book for half my life and just opened it two days ago. I’ve been working on a blog post incorporating the amazing nuggets already found in just the first four conversations. Glad to know someone else is reading it.

  18. 18

    Thank you for this post. There are times when I am cheerful and happy as I unclog the toilet or take out the garbage or face Mt. Washmore… then there are all the other times. I know that my prayer life directly affects how my day goes and therefore how the day goes for everyone else at my house. I hope that recognizing that it is really about the love I have when completing all the little things is all the is required. Thank you.

  19. 19

    Oh, it is always easy to do the seemingly important and big things for Him…not realizing that the little things are the big things :)

  20. 20

    your post made my week! thank you for that insight about being thankful, and grateful, and blessed by EACH ACTION we do. i linked your post to my blog. hope that was ok!

  21. 21

    Oh how I needed to read this tonight. My own children are all in school but I spend my day running an in-home daycare for school teachers. I often wonder why I’m “stuck” still changing diapers when my own children are all grown. Lately I’ve had a bad attitude about it, when instead I should be grateful for the children, their amazing families, the ability to be at home, and the time with these precious kids.

  22. 22

    Such a tough thing to actually remember and do. I know I NEED to do it but most often do not. Thanks for the reminder.

  23. 23

    Thank you for this! What an amazing reminder. I want to love the Lord my God with ALL my heart, soul & strength…and IMPRESS that upon my children. And what a blessing that I can do that in the day to day, in serving both them and my husband. I struggle. I need my moments alone. But I want to serve with a grateful & joyful heart. I want to LOVE them through the moments. May I do it faithfully, to His glory.

  24. 24

    Hands sticky with peanut butter cookie dough, I roll them and criss-cross them with a sugar coated fork. Salmon is sizzling in the oven sprinkled by olive oil and lemon pepper and my own recipe of potatoes and warm apples are sharing the same oven. My husband is talking to our friend. I am chatting with another friend. The house is warm. I thank God for the work because it is the work that glorifies Him even if I tinge the edges of my potatoes because I got distracted. My friends–they know I do this because I love them.

  25. 25

    Thank you so much for this important reminder! This is precisely what God and I have been working on. As the mommy of two boys under two, I can totally get bogged down in the hum drum of day after day of diapers, laundry, dishes, meals, baths, etc. I can start to feel sulky and get myself in a funk. Yucky for me. Yucky for my sweet sons. But when I remember that God is my “employer” and the work I do I do for HIM and that, just like you said, I am loved and valued for who I am and not what I do, THEN I can be a blessing to my family, my God, and even myself!

  26. 26

    Beautiful.
    I’ve been feeling a little sulky lately too, and feeling bad that I feel that way. It’s not my little sons’ faults that I get into these attitudes. I want them to have a happy mama, so I need to keep reminding myself of this.

  27. 27

    I’ve had a lot on my plate lately, and if I’m not careful I can totally lose perspective. Thank you for the good reminders!

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  3. [...] The Love with which we Perform @ (in)courage was a lovely reminder; one that I needed as a wife/mother/homemaker and maybe you do too? [...]

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