Saint Theophan spoke often about the struggles we face when we are active in the affairs of the world. He writes,"There is a widely accepted misconception among us: that when one becomes involved in work at home or in business, immediately one steps out of the godly realm and away from God-pleasing activities...." He points out that we do NOT have to run from this activity to come closer to God! He writes, "Home and communities depend on concerns of daily life and society. These concerns are God-appointed obligations; fulfilling them is not a step toward the ungodly, but is a walking in the way of the Lord."
We can be seriously misled by the idea that somehow these mundane activities of this world are to be avoided. This would be a very dangerous path. Instead as we saw from his advice in the last post, in addition to the time we dedicate to our morning and evening prayer, we need to learn to glorify God in all our activities and to call on His help as we muddle though all the difficulties we face daily in our work or in taking care of our families. He writes, "grasp the concept that everything you do, inside and outside your home... is godly and God-pleasing...." He tells us that If we complete our godly deeds in an ungodly manner this will "tear your mind from God." He then instructs us, "approach daily matters with knowledge that to fulfill them is a commandment. Administer them as administering God's law."
Each of us has a place along with responsibilities that God has given to us. God is watching us and sees how we handle our assignments. We cannot hide from Him or the tasks He has given to us. So do your work, keeping in mind that all that comes to you throughout the day is sent by God.
Saint Theophan says, "By orienting yourself to God at all times, your chores at home and responsibilities outside the house will not distract your attention from God, but, on the contrary, will keep you intent on completing all tasks in a God pleasing manner...." He cautions, "Be careful to distinguish between concerns prompted by frivolity, passions, flattery and worldliness, from those that are correct, appropriate and honorable." He says that what is essential is that we have committed ourselves to live in a God-pleasing manner.
The above is from Letter 49 in the booklet On Prayer.
An Additional Thought
I pass on a thought in a similar vein from a recent podcast by Matthew Gallatin, Theosis In A Busy World. In this podcast Matthew answers a letter from a listener who feels overwhelmed by his daily duties in his quest for the proper spiritual path.
He is the author of Thirsting For God in a Land of Shallow Wells published by Conciliar Press. He lives in Northern Idaho and is a former Professor of Philosophy. You can learn earn more about Matthew’s ministry at his website.