Contending Through the Mundane

Contending Through the Mundane
(a memo to myself)
by Pete Coker

Much of our lives are a series of mundane activities. Most jobs, once learned, become a daily routine of going through the motions. Outside of employment, our days and evenings are often a continuation of mundane domestic activities. We normally go through many of these activities without much thought, knowing they need to be done.
A relatively small percentage of people find joy and satisfaction in their vocation, but many will most likely find enjoyment elsewhere. Many are likely to find joy in a favorite activity or hobby for a portion of their days. Weekends may also be a time to indulge in whatever seems more fulfilling. Vacations are an added break from the mundane and a great opportunity for rest, revival, and enjoyment. For Christians, the worship experience, fellowship, and service ministries are also an added dimension of fulfillment.
At times our spiritual lives may also appear mundane and leave us in a state of spiritual dryness. The book of Ecclesiastes describes seasons of our lives designed for our good and our growth. These seasons of spiritual dryness should ultimately be periods for subliminal growth. Though these periods may seem unspiritual, uninspired, and mundane, they are still seasons to learn and build spiritual strength. Often we don’t sense or realize the growth or preparedness learned in these stale times until we are well into the next season of our lives. Many times these apparent spiritually dry seasons are preparing us for the very next season of our life.
In the classic book by Robert M. Pirsig, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” the author describes a cross-country motorcycle trip with his son and friends, a married couple. The book is not only about the cross country trip, but also the author’s philosophical thoughts on values, beauty, and the meaning of quality. The mechanics of his philosophical endeavors are analyzed and analogized via his ongoing passion for motorcycle maintenance.
In his book, the author recalls an incident on the cross-country trip with the married couple. As they began their ride through the Great Plains, the wife decided it was too hot, too long and too boring to continue on through the plains. Rather than traveling for several days through the plains, the couple decided to have the wife take an airplane flight to the foot of the Rocky Mountains and rejoin the others there.
The author, who had made the trip before, recalled his disappointment about their decision. He was saddened by her desire to avoid traveling through the plains and experiencing the contrast of what eventually lay ahead. True, the ride through the plains was long, hot, and boring – everything, more of the same – mundane. Add to that, the possibility of breaking-down in the middle of nowhere. Not to mention the irritability of personality conflicts when their patience with each other was already wearing thin.
But, as the author recalls, at the end of a seemingly endless ride through the Great Plains awaits the beauty and grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. After enduring the monotony, heat, and discomfort of traveling through an endless expanse of sameness is the contrast of the Rocky Mountains. The awesomeness, magnificence, and majesty of the Rockies are realized all the more. After contending through the mundane of the Great Plains, the reward is thereby realized and valued with greater appreciation.
This can illustrate our spiritual lives as well. In times or seasons of spiritual dryness we need to continue to contend for the faith, by diligently seeking and trusting God. Relying on the power and working of the Holy Spirit in us. The spiritual rewards are sweeter and more valued when we faithfully contend through the mundane and difficult times.

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