Do you find yourself in an “ordinary” season of life right now? Maybe you are in your twilight years and feeling you aren’t making a difference. Or maybe life has gotten to be such a routine — between work, church, home and family — that there doesn’t seem room to do “big” things for God. Those dreams or desires to be sent out to places to make an extraordinary difference in people’s lives now seem to be gone forever.
In a society that constantly emphasizes the importance of leaving a legacy and living a life that is exciting and worthy of notice — even for the Kingdom — we often come up short. We discover that our lives have become ordinary! But is it this view of our “ordinary” life that is really what is distorted?
Consider John the Baptist, the man Jesus said is greatest among those born of women (Matthew 11:11). In John 10, the gospel-writer shares that, although John the Baptist did not perform any miraculous signs throughout his life and ministry, Jesus nevertheless calls him great. What was it that made John so memorable? What extraordinary things did he do? What legacy did he leave?
He mirrored Jesus to his world!
In a world of “do more, be more” and “leave a lasting legacy,” how can we actually do those things when our life is simply “ordinary”? Maybe we need to quit looking at “doing” life and, instead, focus on being life. Perhaps we can look at our daily routine differently: Did we mirror Jesus to the grocery clerk who was taking so long with the person ahead of us? Did we mirror Jesus to our friends when they disappointed us? Do we mirror a thankful heart to our spouse who does the many ordinary deeds in life that keep things going? Yes, there are those who do live extraordinary lives, but the majority of us live ordinary lives in the world’s eyes. But that doesn’t mean our lives can’t or won’t be great.
The world looks from the top down, but God looks from the bottom up. “So the last will be first and the first will be last” (Matthew 20:16). “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Aren’t those principles at the heart of a truly extraordinary life? Having Jesus increase in us with true joy and contentment causes our ordinary life to no longer be ordinary. Instead, we have the opportunity to be a reflection of Jesus in the midst of the mundane and routine things of our day. If we can mirror Jesus in the unremarkable moments, aren’t we truly living a marked life before others?
Once again I am reminded of our dear friend, Joy Dawson, and her book, Forever Ruined for the Ordinary. Although Joy’s life has been anything but ordinary, she still shares in that writing that a lifestyle of simple obedience in the ordinary things can lead to a truly extraordinary life.
We still may not find ourselves on a mission field in India making a remarkable impact, but a seemingly insignificant deed in our daily routine, when done with joy and thankfulness, could impact the life of someone else who may ultimately be sent around the world — and you do have an opportunity to make a remarkable impact after all! And isn’t living this way more fulfilling? Isn’t this the upside-down life we are meant to live? When extraordinary becomes ordinary and the mundane becomes momentous!