Do you remember ‘Trivial Pursuit’; that once popular board game now, I suspect, condemned to attics and other dark and dusty corners across the land?
For a season or so there was, if not quite fame and fortune, at least local kudos a plenty to be gained from the ability to answer trivia. No doubt someone made a fortune too, but not from playing. I was reminded of this last Sunday when our morning worship opened with the hymn ‘New every morning is the love, our wakening and uprising prove’ (John Keble 1792 – 1866).
This early 19th century hymn focuses on finding God in the ordinary business of living. One line, in particular, strikes me every time I sing it: The trivial round, the common task, will furnish all we ought to ask, room to deny ourselves, a road to bring us daily nearer God. Keble, of course, was not referring to Trivial Pursuit, the board game.
In Christian ministry, as in most walks of life, we are prone to grading achievement; some jobs are just more important, more valuable, more special; others are trivial. And, just as we look at others, so too we look at ourselves; judging our own contribution and worth by the same scale.
Keble’s words remind us that God’s value system is not the same as ours. As the prophet Isaiah wrote “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Is 55: 8-9). Remember the story of the widow’s mite (Lk 21: 1-4); the poor woman who gave all she had was commended far above the wealthy donors giving large sums which were, nonetheless but a fraction of their wealth. What’s true of cash, is true of all that we give.
The trivial round, the common task ….. a road to bring us daily nearer God. We all have a role to play in life. Few of us have very high profile roles; responsibilities and achievements no-one would dare call trivial. Most of us, most of the time, have more lowly roles to fill. Serving God starts here; doing what we can do and doing it well. It is this which leads us along the road to God.
Rev’d Philip Payne The Notice Sheet for 9 July 2023 can be found here