All these areas of my life dividing me, pulling me into a million fractured pieces. How is one to find happiness when you feel split knowing a "house divided against itself shall not stand?" (Matthew 12:25)
The division within causes resentment because instead of creating you have to go and work.
Worry that with all the working there isn't time to serve.
And how did my priorities become such that worship comes at the end instead of the beginning?
I realize I need to do a bit more worshiping, or studying the Good Word, to gather the fragments. I look at those words:
and see they could be synonyms for each other.
Could they really just be the same thing with different names?
I dig deeper, look further, study harder.
And I strike gold.
Avodah is a Hebrew word used in the Bible whose root has three distinct yet intertwined meanings: work, worship, and service.
Here I've been dividing my life when in reality it is all one in the same!
In the original Hebrew text of the Bible, God used one word, avodah, to describe all areas of a life. It takes work to worship. We can worship while we work and most especially while we serve. And where does creating enter in? That too is a form of work. Most meaningful of all, a specialization of the usage of avodah in the Bible is in association with the temple, particularly the sacrifices made there. What is my sacrifice?
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12:1)
My life. All of it.
Of course, I've heard this all before but now it is finally sinking in, into my heart. Just this past General Conference Elder M. Russell Ballard taught, "Only when our testimony transcends what is in our mind and burrows deep into our heart will our motivation to love and to serve become like unto the Savior’s. It is then, and only then, that we become deeply converted disciples of Christ empowered by the Spirit to reach the hearts of our fellowmen. . . We take the next logical step in our complete conversion to the gospel of Christ by assimilating its doctrines deep within our hearts and our souls so we will act and live consistently—and with integrity—what we profess to believe."
I can do that. I can live a life of devoted discipleship, consistently live what I profess to believe. Oh I will definitely fail, miserably at times. But I can try. Again and again I can try to fully live avodah.
"We have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can’t quit and we can’t go back. After an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before. The Crucifixion, Atonement, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ mark the beginning of a Christian life, not the end of it."(Elder Jeffrey R. Holland)
The many fragmented pieces are still here, tied in places with shoestring, nailed tightly together in others, but it is together. Thankfully, I have come to realize my house isn't falling apart after all. It's merely being rebuilt.
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” ― C.S. Lewis, Mere ChristianityAvodah.