Driving across the Midwest the other day I couldn’t help but notice all the billboards and signs touting the best of everything. No doubt you’ve seen them too. The “world class” whatever, the “#1” whatchamacallit, the “biggest” bang, all in an effort to out do the others. As I read them all, the thought that crossed my mind was, “If I ever open a restaurant, it’s going to simply be called The Regular Café.”
In a world of “better than,” we seem to have an issue with ordinary.
We read verses like:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable, and perfect” (Romans 12:2 ESV).
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Do you see it? It’s what we all long for: transformation, power, things we desire to see in ourselves and yet at the end of the day we can simply feel ordinary.
Today, I would submit to you that ordinary is exactly where God wants you.
As much as we long to be extraordinary, to be the best, to be different or even better than, God simply wants us to be obedient. He’s all about the extraordinary, but he brings it about through the ordinary.
Think back with me to amazing people in Scripture:
- Rahab: Do you remember her? She was considered by some in history as a prostitute in the town of Jericho as the Israelites planned to cross the Jordan River to claim the Promised Land. She simply saved a couple of spies, but God used her ordinary story for much more.
- Tamar: Maybe you remember her. She married a son of Judah, but he nor his brother would produce a child. God killed them both for their disobedience and Tamar went on to have a child by her Father-in-law. An odd story for sure, but God would again use ordinary and even challenging circumstances for much more.
- Bathsheba: Surely you know her, right? David had an affair with her, had her husband killed and then took her as his own. As the mother of Solomon, she sat pretty well in her culture, but God used her for much more than that.
- Ruth: A nobody for sure. A Moabite who simply took care of her mother-in-law. Both their husbands had died and they were certain there was no hope to continue the line of their family. God had other plans.
- Mary: She was the mother of Jesus, so a bit extraordinary in that sense, but she started as a teenage girl destined to a life in the hills of Galilee. She fulfilled that, but God used her story for much more.
What do all of these women have in common?
All of their names show up in the most unusual place. In a male-dominated world, the names of these women show up in a genealogy. Not just any genealogy, but the genealogy of Jesus himself. If you would have asked them at the time, they would have told you they were simply ordinary, some even less than that. With questionable backgrounds and bumpy circumstances, God wrote their story far different than they ever could have imagined. They didn’t necessarily see the end, but God had a plan regardless.
So as I drive down the interstate with billboards and commercials of the best of the best, I plan to be satisfied today with ordinary. It’s in my ordinary that God can do extraordinary and in the end the glory is his. Right where it belongs.