Summary: We know the newsworthy, the extraordinary and the flamboyant. But serving Christ is a day to day commitment in ordinary time, in our ordinary lives.
Peter, Peter’s Brother Andrew, John the Gospel writer, James – John’s brother, Phillip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew the Gospel writer, the other James, Thaddeus, Simon & Judas.
Ordinary men that God used in a very extraordinary way.
4 Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
28 chapters in Matthew, Mark has but 16, Luke 24 and John 21 for a total of 89 in all. 89 chapters summarizing the life of Jesus. 89 chapters that span 33 years that Jesus walked on this earth. If we read one chapter in ten minutes, it would take us less than 15 hours to read about the entire life of Jesus, from birth to crucifixion to resurrection to ascension.
The life of Jesus was far from ordinary. After all, the creator of Heaven & Earth, the creator of the universe walked among us for a short period of time, and that in itself would be certainly defined as extraordinary. Of all of the miracles, of all the teaching, of all the healing, of all the parables, of all the walking & traveling, of all the time spent in prayer, we have but a snapshot of all of the time that Jesus spent on earth. How did He spend all of the days & nights that we are unaware of? Where else did He go, who else did He minister to? Who else was taught, who else believed, who else was healed, who else was saved?
What about our lives? Yes, for most of us we live everyday ordinary lives. How do we spend our time in this busy world we live in?
Have you ever wondered what people would think of us years from now? For instance, 50 years from now, if someone were to look back at what was going on in this church at this time, what would they think? What will happen in the life of this church over the next 50 years? Will the years be filled with the spectacular, the extraordinary? Or will the years be filled with hard work and prayer as we wait on the Lord to go before us?
I read the story of a young engineer fresh out of MIT, reaching the end of a job interview. The human resources director asked him; “And what starting salary were you looking for?” The engineer said; “In the neighborhood of $125,000 a year, depending on the benefits package.” The interviewer said; “Well, what would you say to a package of 5 weeks paid vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, company matching retirement fund to 50% of your salary, and a company car leased every two years – say a red corvette?” The engineer sat straight up and said; “Wow! Are you kidding?” The interviewer replied; “Yeah, but you started it!”
Sometimes our expectations are a little bit unrealistic. I know every week I challenge you and push you to do great things. Most of the time as we end our service I pray that God would bless you in ways so extraordinary they could only come from Him. And I believe in this. I believe God can do great things in our lives. But I also believe that God sometimes does His most powerful work in our ordinary lives, in ordinary time.
This is the ordinary time season in our church. It is the longest season of the church year. It comprises 33 or 34 Sundays, or about 60% of the church calendar. Do you know why it’s called Ordinary Time? Because nothing special is happening. It’s not Christmas, it’s not Easter, and it’s not Pentecost. Ordinary time reflects the rhythm and tempo of our lives. This season helps us meditate on the mighty works of God through Jesus Christ. It’s a time to grow in our faith in response to God’s invitation to follow Jesus. It’s a time when “nothing special” is happening.
That’s my life and I assume yours as well. Everyday I read the newspaper and read of all the unusual things that make up the news in our world, our country and our communities. Most of the time my name does not appear nor does yours, and that’s probably a good thing.
I believe that God asks us to immerse ourselves in this ordinary time and live as extraordinary disciples.
I’ve read of this illustration: We think giving our all to the Lord is like taking a $1,000 dollar bill and laying it on the table – “Here’s my life Lord, I’m giving it all.” But the reality is that God sends us to the bank and has us cash in the thousand dollars for quarters. We go through life putting out 25 cents here and 50 cents there - listening to the troubles of a neighbor, attending a committee meeting, spending time in an assisted living home. Usually giving our life to Christ isn’t glorious – it’s done in all those little acts of love, 25 cents at a time.