God in the Ordinary

Every life can be rich in God’s presence, whether routine or astonishing 

How many of you would call your life extraordinary? While all have a desire to be a cut above, most of us are honest enough to admit that our lives are rather ordinary. Most of us don’t experience miraculous deliverances, visions, or healings. Most of us will never lead a massive revival, write a theological masterpiece, or die as a heroic martyr. Most of us live faithful Christian lives that are, nonetheless, rather ordinary. 

This seems to pose a problem. Christian media and the Church at large tell us that an authentic Christian experience should be marked by the extraordinary. Countless sermons talk about how God is the God of miracles, but how many talk about how God is the God of the ordinary, the everyday, and the mundane? We read accounts in Scripture of how God parted the Red Sea, appeared in a cloud of fire, and raised the dead, and it all seems so foreign to our day-to-day experience. We begin to ask, “Is my ordinary, mundane relationship with God enough?” In response, some Christians begin relabeling their experiences to sound more unique and dynamic. Others abandon their local churches in search of something “authentic”—something extraordinary. 

But though on many occasions God works through the extraordinary, for him, this is not typical. For most of Israel’s history, the average Israelite never saw God do anything particularly miraculous. Their worship revolved around regular sacrifices, the yearly festivals, and other ordinary activities. A cursory study of Church history reveals that, though miraculous and extraordinary activity marked the Apostolic age, most Christians’ relationships with God have been rather ordinary. Even Jesus, whose life in the Gospels overflows with the miraculous, lived the first 30 years of his life as a no-name blue-collar carpenter in Nazareth.  
Yet, at the end of those 30 years—before His  
miraculous ministry ever began—a voice from heaven declared, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). 

Constantly pursuing a new, extraordinary experience to find God is exhausting. The good news is that God meets ordinary believers in their ordinary lives. While God is the very definition of extraordinary, he is the God of the ordinary. The praises of the smallest, most humdrum congregation honor him. He meets us in ordinary things like water in baptism or bread and wine in communion. He ministers to us through the preaching of his Word by a normal man, and this Word addresses how we live our everyday lives. God doesn’t just care about the “spiritual parts” of our lives, he also cares about the mundane. Vast sections of Scripture like the Sermon on the Mount, the second half of Romans and Ephesians, and Proverbs primarily deal with how God’s people should live their ordinary lives. God cares about how you parent your children, work your job, and look after your body. Your normal life lived for him pleases him.  

Paul writes in his first epistle to the Thessalonians, “… make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you” (4:11). 

Most of our lives are far from extraordinary. But we serve an extraordinary God who is great enough to meet us in our ordinary lives and use them in his glorious plan.   

Hunter Berntson [FLS first-year] is a 2021 graduate of FLBC. He is from Valley City, N.D. 

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