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Rejoice in the Ordinary

Most, if not all, graduations have happened by now. If you attended one or have in the past, you may be able to recall what a typical speech is like. You would hear phrases like, “You will do great things.” “I can’t wait see what amazing things you accomplish.” “One of you may even become the President someday.”

Let’s consider the odds of fulfilling said promises. How many who are reading this have had a United States President in their graduating class? One of my high school friends did make it his life’s goal to become president but I have yet to see him on the ballot even for a primary. There’s still time. What about a world-renowned scientist that has participated in a breakthrough study for life-saving medicine? Or even a CEO of a Fortune 500 company?

Perhaps you know someone who has gone on to do great things. But what about you? I’d love to hear from you if you did graduate with some big shot or are one yourself. But I don’t expect to get a comment on this post from Jeff Bezos because he reads some little blog like this one. We strive for “greatness” because we have fragile egos. But I believe we need something different.

Consider Jesus. He came to earth, not as a big important leader, but as an ordinary person. He healed ordinary people with ordinary diseases. He healed a servant of a centurion, not the emperor in Rome. He left hanging with the crowds to attend individually to one deaf and mute man. Little things. The twelve men he asked to be his special students were so ordinary, we know very few details about their occupations or personal lives.

Furthermore, Jesus predicted judgment day like this.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was lacking clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’

Then they ask about when they did these things.

“The King will answer them, ‘Amen I tell you: Just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me.’” (Matthew 25:34-40, EHV).

Notice all the ordinary things for ordinary people and his final emphasis on “the least of these.” His speech may declare, “You will do ordinary things, like ordinary people, blessing other ordinary people doing ordinary things. But those ordinary things are what makes the world go round.” My high school classmates went on to become teachers, lawyers, mechanics, police, painters, coaches, and other ordinary jobs.

God elevates these little things and rejoices in them. Why? Because God has already done an amazing thing for us. He has already saved you. He has already defeated your sin. He has already promised you heaven as a gift, not a reward for how great you are. He promised you his kingdom far before you did anything to impress him. In fact, he does this despite being unimpressed when we attempt greatness for self-promotion rather than the good of real people around us. What an amazing God! And now he gives you the little, ordinary things of life in a way to be a blessing to someone else.

What if you wake up every day rejoicing that you get the opportunity to help in some little way, serve someone else? What if you found joy in the meager salary or small vacation? What if you congratulated your child for getting in 5th place because you were proud? What if you fought over who would change the diaper or do the dishes or laundry because of how “insignificant” it was? What if picking up the broom or taking out the trash were the highlight of your day? How much happier would our community be if we rejoiced in the ordinary?

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