Extraordinarily Ordinary Christians

Funny how a topic just keeps popping up here and there.  Back in July, Tim Challies posted about Ordinary Christians and a Great Commission.  That was a topic of discussion with others with the post “Just” a Mom and The Great Commission.  The sum of some of the discussion is that just being Christian wives and mothers is ‘Radical’ today.  A similar topic actually came up again in our ladies’ Titus 2 Bible Study.  How does it look to share the gospel and witness to the those outside our family for a mom of little ones or a variety of ages at home?  Should that even be a focal point for us?  Then when you add in homeschooling that even increases the load at home.

Jesus spent the majority of His time with twelve disciples as He was going along. He even narrowed that group several times to four of what is commonly called the “inner circle”, consisting of Peter, Andrew, James and John.  It was very rare for Jesus to be separate from His disciples except when He went away to pray.  So surely there is nothing wrong with us as moms focusing on making disciples, our children, by making sure we are with them in the mundane things of life leading, guiding and teaching.  We might haul them with us when we go out to serve others but generally they should be our focus.

{The God of the Mundane by Matt B. Redmond, who is actually from Birmingham, Alabama, fits this whole discussion.}

Yesterday I read this post from Michael Horton Ordinary: The New Radical?  While it covers a similar topic as Challies post, it does point out some different ideas.

“Many Christians express astonishment when a fellow believer is content with an ordinary Christian life, with an ordinary church, among ordinary Christians, where God showers his extraordinary gifts through ordinary means of grace.”

“Facing each day with ordinary callings to ordinary people all around us is much more difficult than chasing dreams.”

“My target isn’t activism itself, but the marginalization of the ordinary as the richest site of both God’s activity and ours.  Our problem isn’t that we are too active. Rather, it is that we have been prone to successive sprints instead of the long-distance run.  There’s nothing wrong with energy.  The danger is that we’re burning out ourselves—and each other—on restless anxieties and unrealistic expectations.  It’s an impatience with the familiar, sometimes slow, and mostly imperceptible aspects of life.

Think of the things that matter most to us.  They aren’t movements; they are institutions.  They require us to submit to a community, to be “tied down” in ways that clip our restless wings.  Yet in the process, the discipline brings wisdom and delight.”

These all remind me of the saying “You can die for your wife, but can you die to yourself day by day for her?”  What if you turned it around and asked “You can die for Christ, but can you die to yourself for Christ every day in your ordinary everyday life?”  Is Christ more glorified by our going out to the ends of the earth or by our serving Him in the mundane, ordinary things of life?  The world, even Christians, praise those who go to the ends of the earth to share the gospel but where is the praise for unclogging the toilets at church so a congregation can gather to worship the Lord?

Missionaries in Africa or China use books and Bibles produced and published by Christian printing houses.  They use commentaries written by theologians.  They use computer Bible programs designed by programmers.  They use paper produced in factories. Drive cars made by assembly line workers. We need those who labor to teach in seminaries and colleges.  We need those who focus on school so they can be our doctors and nurses.  Even in the local church we need those ordinary Christians.  The ones who repair the broken windows, clean the toilets and mop the floors.  The church and the missionaries need men who work hard 40 – 60 hours a week to support families and yet sacrifice to share hard earned money to support Kingdom work.  We even need bank tellers to help us transfer the money to where it is needed.

So how do believers mesh the idea of leading quiet lives at home with the push to be radical, missionaries to the world?

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 (ESV)

9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,

10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more,

11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,

12 so that you may live properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

How does “to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands” in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 look?


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