“The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children.” -G.K. Chesterton
What is it about ordinary that seems so unsatisfying?
In school, I never felt happy with less than A+, less than number 1, less than perfect, less than "better than." But through redemption, my unattainable standard is exposed for what it really is: a frail attempt at soothing myself with the drug of self worth...fear cloaked in pride.
And it's not that there is anything ignoble about pursuing excellence. Yet, I ask myself: Is it enough to be ordinary? To be faithful in smallness? To be persistent in the daily slogging? To be unknown, impacting unknown people in unknown corners of the world? To make it your ambition to lead a quiet life?
Is our world so well-connected that we've forgotten how to live in secret?
There is so much in our culture that points us to being above, better, the elite, noticed, famous, extraordinary. We are a people addicted to fame and celebrities; we are happy to settle for likes, followers, and tags--its accessible notoriety, stardom within reach.
When God gives fame, allows renown, extends reach-- that is his choosing and he receives the glory. Joseph sought only to live and honor God; he did not pursue fame and status. Yet, God granted him renown, power, and the esteem of his brothers...in God's time...according to his plan. We praise God for the grand successes in our lives, but do we praise him for the everyday grace that is so easily overlooked? Is it any less praiseworthy? Isn't he just as faithful and good when we tuck our littles in at night with a story as when we address kings and presidents? The ordinary life is more extraordinary than we realize.
The most extraordinary thing about me is that Christ chose to give life abundant to an ordinary person like me.
Ordinary is extraordinary when we know how much has been given to us-- we who are not nearly as remarkable as we think ourselves to be. Left up to myself, nothing extraordinary would flow from me. But, I'm so easily deceived, setting my sights on my own standard of extraordinary, and not God's. I'm the most miserable, the most disappointed, the most discontent, when I'm in pursuit of my version of extraordinary.
And is that not what we see in the life of Christ? He was born in an extraordinary way, into an ordinary life, to ordinary parents. He gave an extraordinary message that was treasured by the ordinary, the lowly, those who did have much to offer. Those who thought themselves elite and worthy never knew the extraordinary person of Christ.
It grieves my heart that I'm one of those that oftentimes think myself too extraordinary to experience the extravagance of God's grace in contentment. In pursuit of my own idea of greatness, I can so often miss the wonder and extraordinary works of God in my life. My life is extraordinary in my ordinary little world. As is yours.
Oh, Lord, capture my heart with the beauty of the gospel once again...of the grace that binds my ordinary life forever to the extraordinary work of the cross. Let that be enough, Lord. Let that be enough.
"Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing." -Psalm 34:10b
"A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." -Proverbs 14:30
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