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Excerpt of Sacred Mundane by Kari Patterson
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Excerpt of Sacred Mundane by Kari Patterson

26 Sep Posted by in Teasers | Comments Off on Excerpt of Sacred Mundane by Kari Patterson
Excerpt of Sacred Mundane by Kari Patterson
So many women struggle with what to do with their daily lives. They feel trapped in everyday drudgery and disappointment, in dull domestic duties, and in mundane jobs they despise. Where is the abundant, purposeful life they were promised?

In Sacred Mundane, Kari Patterson shows readers the truth: in each unremarkable life lies an opportunity to see, know, love, and be utterly transformed by a God who meets everyone right where they are. Instead of stepping away from real life to find God, Patterson equips women with a six-step practice to move further in and meet Him in the humdrum moments of everyday existence. And when a woman’s inner being is truly changed by the sacred, everything in her world changes too–right down to tackling the dirty dishes.

 

Material for sacrifice.

 

Excerpt adapted from Sacred Mundane: How to Find Freedom, Purpose, and Joy by Kari Patterson.

© 2017 Kregel Publications. Used with permission.

Let’s back up for a bit and look at how this sacred-mundane thing began. At twenty years old, I was on fire for God. I was eager to devote my life to sacred work. Inspired by William Carey, I wanted to expect great things from God and attempt great things for God. I plunged headlong into the sacred waters of church work, attending a ministry training school, traveling and leading overseas mission trips, teaching classes, leading Bible studies, writing gospel dramas, discipling college women, you name it. There was only one problem.

I was miserable.

I wanted to please God, but the reality was that life was about 2 percent holy high and 98 percent ordinary and irritating, boring-stuff. Nothing I hoped for was coming to pass. The man I loved did not love me. My thriving “ministry” mostly included a lot of toilet scrubbing, taking out the trash at church, and late-night, long hours spent with people who drained me dry. On the outside, I might have looked fine, but deep down I saw no eternal purpose in much of what my job entailed. I longed to be free from my tendency to turn to food for comfort. I found myself slipping more and more into depression, wondering what happened to my joy. I desperately wanted change and wanted to change. But I didn’t know how.

I don’t even remember what specific straw broke the proverbial camel’s back, but one morning another mundane day stretched out excruciatingly ordinary before me and I just couldn’t get out of bed. As minutes turned to hours I finally told myself what I told everyone else: Trust God and do the next thing.

I pulled my Bible from the nightstand and flipped to find the brown ribbon that marked the place for my daily reading. My eyes fell on Leviticus 5. Awesome. I’m in Leviticus. Discharges and nakedness. This will be inspiring.

Paying half attention, I began to read: “If anyone touches a carcass of an unclean wild animal or carcass of unclean swarming things . . .”

That did it. Seriously? Lord, please. Carcasses of swarming things? For crying out loud! My heart is broken, I’m dying inside, and this is all you have to say?

I almost put the Bible down, but turned the page instead and began chapter six. A dozen verses later, my gracious God whispered through his Word: “The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not go out. The priest shall burn wood on it every morning. . . . Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall not go out” (Lev. 6:12-13).

The fire shall always be kept burning. It shall not go out. With the clarity, if not the volume, of an audible voice, I heard: I am giving you material for sacrifice.

Material for sacrifice.

I truly wanted to live a life that pleased God, that glorified God. Yet I found my life was full of pain. It was full of ordinary days. It was full of disappointment. It was fully of toilet scrubbing and trash toting. How was I to glorify God with that?

Material for sacrifice. The fire on the altar shall be kept burning.

It didn’t all make sense just then, but as I peered at those words in the most mundane of Bible books, I saw that God was giving me a wide variety of things-hopes, dreams, longings, ideas, routine tasks, ordinary days, even pain-opportunities for me to offer them right back up to Him as a sacrifice of praise.

 

Every dream yet unfulfilled: sacrifice material.

Every tedious task: sacrifice material.

Every frustrated plan: sacrifice material.

Every hurt and rejection: sacrifice material.

 

At the time, this revelation was enough, but later I would look it all up. What is a sacrifice anyway? The word sacrifice comes from the Latin sacrificus, from sacra, meaning “sacred,” and facere, meaning “to do, to perform.” Our English word sacrifice literally means “sacred doing” or “sacred performing.” In Hebrew (stick with me here), the word for “sacrifice” in these Leviticus passages is korban, which comes from a root that means “to come close.” In other words, a korban is a vehicle for man to come close to God.

A sacrifice, then, is the sacred act of offering something to God for the purpose of drawing near to him. Our days, our pain, our dreams, our bodies, our lives-offered up to God for the purpose of drawing near. Sacrifice material. All of life, a sacred offering.

But wait-what about Jesus? Isn’t he the true sacrifice, offered once and for all so we no longer have to offer sacrifices? Isn’t all that Old Testament altar stuff done and gone? We don’t have to sacrifice anymore, right? Hebrews 13:15-16 explains, “Through [Jesus] then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Isn’t this awesome? Because of Jesus’s once-and-for-all atoning sacrifice (removing all guilt for our past, present, and future sin) we may freely and joyfully approach the throne of God and offer our ongoing, living sacrifice of praise.

The sacrifice of atonement was Jesus’s work; the sacrifice of praise is ours. It’s through his sacrifice that we offer ours. We are positionally pleasing to God because of Christ’s sacrifice; we are practically pleasing to God because of ours.

This sacrifice of praise that pleases God involves the ordinary, mundane tasks we do each day. The taking of every moment and continually offering it up in worship.

Romans 12:1 says the same thing: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

My life, a “living sacrifice,” is intended to be a continual act of praise. That is what it means to glorify God, please God, and enjoy God, entering each moment as a sacred place of worship and letting him transform me in the process.

Brother Lawrence said the same thing: “Sanctification does not involve changing what we do, but in doing our normal activities for God’s sake.”4 We are transformed as we worship God through our ordinary days. True worship isn’t a song we sing; it’s a life we live. It’s a sacrifice. A continual offering.

This is how the mundane becomes sacred. We hallow it. To “hallow” means to “make holy.” When we set about our unspectacular days with the express purpose of offering everything up as a sacrifice of praise, we make holy the ordinary. John Keble said it this way in his hymn:

 

If on our daily course our mind

Be set, to hallow all we find,

New treasures still, of countless price,

God will provide for sacrifice.

—John Keble, “If On Our Daily Course”

 

If we set our minds to make holy all that we find, God will provide treasures, plenty of material for sacrifice, and limitless opportunities for worship.

Learn more about Sacred Mundane and read Patterson’s Sacred Mundane blog at www.karipatterson.com. She is also active on Facebook (sacredmundane) and Twitter(@sacredmundane).

 

 

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