In "Making Waves, Part 3: Fully Devoted" (April 21), Kutter Callaway spoke for us, didn’t he, when he said, “We all want our lives to matter, and as people of faith, we want them to matter ultimately.” Then he went on to ask, “What if a resurrection life is one in which we devote ourselves to being fully, wholly, and thoroughly ordinary?"
Interesting thought, isn’t it? We don’t want to be “ordinary,” do we? We want to be extra-ordinary. We want to be brilliant and gifted and skilled. We work our whole life trying to distinguish ourselves from the “ordinary.” Yet, isn’t it true that most of us live ordinary lives, in an ordinary world, going about our ordinary activities, in the ordinary way. We follow routines we’ve practiced for years and live in comfort zones that each of us has built for ourselves.
However, I don’t want to be ordinary. I want people to look at me and say, “Wow! What an extraordinary guy. Guys like him don’t come around very often.” Then I wake up from my self-exalting stupor and realize that, in the end, I’m just a guy from Wardell, Missouri, who was taken at a young age to Shafter, California, who had some good breaks along the way and so went to college, and now lives in Pasadena, California, and a part of team of people who love Jesus, and who are so gifted and skilled at what they do, I feel stunned that I have been invited to the place of grace and mercy and love and acceptance and forgiveness.
Truth is I am quite ordinary but I am also aware of a wonderful and powerful word from Acts 2:42-47. There, each of us is encountered with the power and authority of God. We see God working in ordinary folks with the extra-ordinary power of the Holy Spirit who, through those ordinary folks, turns the world upside down, bewilders the Roman empire, changes the course of western civilization, and rocks the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Suddenly the question comes alive: What if a resurrection life is one in which we devote ourselves to being fully, wholly, and thoroughly ordinary?
What if God desires to save us and draw us to Himself but, also, to leave us in our world, filled with His extraordinary power and authority there? What if Jesus could actually be Lord in the everyday matters of our lives? What if God is not caught off guard by what are weakness and routine and ordinary to us? What if God longs to come into our lives regardless of who we are, what we have, or how much we have accomplished, and knowing also that we are broken, disenfranchised and in desperate need of grace? What if it is in this place God wants to do His greatest work? And, the greatest “what if” ever, what if God longs to work in our lives so that in their ordinariness they actually come to matter ultimately?
What if God wants to do things differently than the systems of our world do them? What if resurrection really and truly matters as we go about our lives? Kutter reminded us of something worth repeating. He said,
We are part of a culture that celebrates the “extraordinary.” From our devotion to professional sports, to our obsession with the latest greatest piece of technology, to our concern with how many followers we have on our Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest accounts, we are quite obsessed with the super human and the sensational. Unless you are talking about an all-time record, or the fastest device, or the most viewed YouTube video, we are simply not interested. And unless you think this is a mentality that only exists outside the church, think again. How do we generally measure the “success” or influence of a church or ministry endeavor? Most often it has something to do with “extraordinary” results – hundreds came to Christ; millions of dollars were raised; thousands demonstrated their devotion to Christ…So let’s make no mistake: both within and outside the church, “ordinary” has become a four-letter word.
What if God really does live within the hearts of ordinary folks who believe in Him and are willing to let God be God in the everyday, ordinary, and routine? Somebody once quipped, “Zero plus God equals God.” Kind of simple I know, but true, nevertheless. So true is it that we really ought to change how we perceive the so-called, “Ordinary.” This is an important matter because how we deal with it will impact how we live and move and have our being.
Kutter said to us, that he has a theory about all this. He said,
I have a theory that most Christians can buy into the idea that God is able to make something beautiful out of the ugliness or darkness or brokenness of our lives. But I think a far more scandalous notion among contemporary Christians is that God draws beauty out of the ordinary. And this mindset – the one that elevates the extraordinary and devalues the “everyday” and the “ordinary” – is so pervasive that when we read this passage in Acts, all we are able to hear is the single line about the wonders and miraculous signs. And we hear nothing else.
Acts chapter two calls us to yield our lives to God, to live where we live, doing what we do, and letting God be the profound part of our story; the One, in fact, who is shaping and forming our lives. Kutter is right on target when he says, “We need to reclaim the beauty of the ordinary. What I am saying is that the resurrection is God’s radical affirmation of our everyday lives.”
I think we ought to take what has been given to us by God, let Him stamp it all with His marvelous and wonderful life, and go out and live. The ordinary becomes the place where God lets loose His very life, and we are energized to give it to God, and let all of life become sacred, sacred in the sense that God is here and that nothing is beyond the scope of His amazing grace.
- Pastor Rick
Tue, April 23, 2013
by Rick Savage filed under