I know a hand surgeon who specializes in reattaching fingers that have been partially or completely
severed in accidents. When he enters the operating room, he knows he will be squinting into a micro-scope for six to eight hours, sorting out and stitching together the snarl of nerves, tendons, and blood vessels finer than human hairs. A single mistake, and the patient may permanently lose movement or sensation. He cannot take a coffee break or even a bathroom break. Once my friend got an emergency call at three o'clock in the morning and could hardly face the prospect of beginning such an arduous procedure. In order to add incentive and focus, he decided to dedicate the surgery to his father who had recently died. For the next few hours, he imagined his father standing beside him, his hand on his shoulder, offering encouragement.
The technique worked so well that he began dedicating his surgeries to people he knew. He would call them, often awakening them, and say, "I have a very demanding procedure ahead of me, and I'd like to dedicate the surgery to you. If I think about you while I'm performing it, that will help me get through." And then it dawned on him: should not he offer his life to God in the same way? The details of what he did each day—answering phone calls, hiring staff, reading medical journals, meeting with patients, scheduling surgeries—changed little, yet somehow the awareness of living for God gradually colored each of those mundane tasks. He found himself treating nurses with more care and respect, spending more time with patients, worrying less about finances.