Friday, April 12, 2013
We live in a culture that celebrates the extraordinary, especially extraordinary people. Athletes, rock stars, actors, actresses, and even those who are famous for being famous have our barely divided attention. We single out the best in just about everything and then they become the benchmark for significance and meaning.
And Christians are not immune. The church has its own celebrities and we have been pointing to them time out of mind because of the extraordinary things they have done in the cause of Christ.
The church is awash in the belief that the extraordinary acts of faith – missions, vocational ministry, street evangelism – are our marks of meaning and significance.
“Do something radical. Or crazy. Whatever you do, don’t be ordinary. Because, obviously, you cannot live a mundane life unto God.”
I wish I had looked in the eyes of homemakers and electricians, accountants and actuaries, farmers and physical therapists and told them differently.
I wish with all my heart I had.
I wish I had asked them to read through Paul and Peter and the letters of John and see the stark reverse of extraordinary. The only thing that looks extraordinary in the recipients of these letters is that they believe at all. For the whole world is against them.
I wish I had told them that the most extraordinary thing they can do is be content with an ordinary life.
I wish I had told them to kick pop culture in the teeth and be a nobody.
I wish I had told them to trust the God who created them and then saved them. I wish I had told them the first vocation was gardener not pastor. I wish I had told them all work – even the most boring work you can imagine – can be kingdom work.
I wish I had told them that if you are trying to live a radical life, you will never be radical enough. And how would you know if you were?
I wish I had told them there is a God of the mundane.As someone who, like the writer, is a former ministry professional, I have to share in this sentiment deeply. I will repeat something I have said here often. If God meant to change the world through the extraordinary, Christ would have come now when communication technology would have allowed him to reach far and wide. Or Christ would have appeared then not as a small man in a small place, but as a vision to all humanity. But he did neither of these things. He came to change the world one person at a time. Pretty mundane, but for real change, the only effective way.
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