Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Zeal in the Details

Even the distasteful ones.

You should be gentle, modest, and calm while carrying out your duties, performing each act, even if distasteful, with zeal and perseverance.

  - The Rule of Carthage, Irish, 7th century[1]

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

  - Colossians 3.23, 24

We all have things in our life which we consider “distasteful” – things we’d just rather not have to do.

Maybe they’re not so much distasteful as they are simply tedious, routine, boring, or menial.

Back when I was teaching in theological seminary, I used to love everything about instruction – except grading. I would do anything to postpone grading exams, papers, or projects. Often I’d have the students grade one another’s work, or I would give them presentations and projects to present in class, where I could enlist the other class members with me to assess their work.

Papers sometimes languished on my desk way longer than they should have. By the grace and help of the Lord, I finished all my grading, but I never found it anything othere than a “distasteful” duty. Just like I’m sure you too have things you’d rather leave for someone else to do.

Can Paul be serious: “whatever you do”? Did Carthage really expect the monks in his monastery to work up zeal and perseverance as they fetched water, cleaned latrines, or mended stone fences?

Yet isn’t it in the mundane, dirty details of life that Jesus showed the true grandeur of God’s love and power? As He touched the sick? Cast out demons? Put up with the ugly, scornful insults of His adversaries? Wouldn’t you and I rather do something other than that?

We need to seek the Lord to help us follow Carthage’s advice – and Paul’s exhortation – so that we can do all our work, down to the smallest details, with zeal and perseverance, honoring the Lord in all we do.

No work done in the name of Jesus Christ is insignificant. Each brief conversation, every thoughtful gesture, timely deed, or unprovoked word of affirmation has the power to minister the grace of God. Even the distasteful chores and routines that never go away are opportunities to rejoice in the Lord and serve Him well.

Too often we think of works of ministry as the big things church leaders do – preach, teach, lead worship, go on a missions trip. “Ministry” is glamorous, whereas most of what we do each day is not.

But every task, every duty, every relationship, role, and responsibility is fraught with potential for glorifying God. The daily ministry of the saints, carried out in our Personal Mission Field, is what builds the Church and furthers the Kingdom (Eph. 4.11-16). And everything in our lives, every activity, duty, meeting, or obligation, is an opportunity to serve and glorify the Lord.

Living in Christ’s Kingdom changes everything, you see, even the distasteful and tedious details of our lives.

The challenge to us is always to keep this in mind, and to seek the Lord for His perspective and grace, so that we’re never simply doing mindless, menial, tedious things, but we’re always serving the Lord and honoring Him with all our work. Whatever we do can glorify our Lord when we do it with zeal, perseverance, gratitude, and joy.

The more we are conscious of the opportunities for ministry God brings our way each day, and the more we are zealous to do those works as unto the Lord, the more His grace and truth will reach others through us in life-transforming ways.

Let us not despise the small things in life. Take whatever opportunities for serving others that God gives you – no matter how distasteful or tedious they may be – and carry them through joyfully, and as a faithful steward of the grace and truth of the Lord.

Watch what God can do when you are zealous in the details to honor and glorify Him.

For Reflection
1. What opportunities for glorifying God in the daily details await you today? How should you prepare for these?

2. How can believers affirm and encourage one another in living for God in all the daily details of life?

Psalm 90.16, 17 (Landas: My Faith Has Found a Resting Place)
Now let Your work to us appear; our children show Your might.
And let Your favor rest on us; show mercy in Your sight.
The work that You have given us, confirm, and to us show,
that we Your chosen path may walk and in Your precepts go.

Help me to be alert, O Lord, to every opportunity for serving others, any way I can, so that I…

A great salvation for the small stuff of life
Our books, Such a Great Salvation, and Small Stuff, can help you learn to make the most of every opportunity for serving the Lord, all day long. You can order a free copy of each by clicking here and here.

Personal Mission Field
Be sure to check out this month’s “Personal Mission Field Workshop” on being clear about our vision (click here).

Thank You
We pray that, if Crosfigell ministers to you, you’ll consider sharing with us in the financial support of our ministry. If the Lord moves you to give, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

T. M. Moore
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


[1] Ó Maidín, p. 68.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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