From the Spectacular to the Ordinary
The temptation to be spectacular is ever present, and it will grab us by the throat when we least expect it. I read on the Internet last evening that people were scrambling to get tickets to hear a well-known pastor speak. I was surprised to be thinking, No one scrambles for tickets to hear me speak. When am I ever going to get over this fading hope that I'm going to "make it"? Then I shook off the uncontrolled rush of self-pity and pulled myself back together.
Fame and popularity are fun. Like a roller-coaster ride, they give us a rush. But we can't live on adrenaline, nor is God calling us to live in the limelight. While it might sound tempting to be able to turn stones into bread, true delight comes from allowing God to provide the bread and from being whom he has called us to be. Real delight is in the ordinary work of life. Yes, we should do what we are gifted and called to do in the body of Christ, but our life is not just our work as ministers and leaders. We find the deepest level of satisfaction in ordinary service to others.
The ordinary is the milieu in which we live. We take out the garbage, get our car fixed, clean up the kitchen, shine our shoes, yield the right-of-way to the driver who doesn't see us and try not to call that person an unkind name. We sit at the table when our children come over for dinner, and we attempt to be a positive influence in their lives. We wonder how we have done as a parent, what our children say, how they conduct themselves, how they treat their spouses, how they instruct or discipline their children. Sometimes what we realize makes us feel sad, and sometimes we are filled with joy.
The truth is while it is great to be well-known, it is much better to be loved. To be loved is tangible, concrete. We know we are loved when the children next door insist on hanging out with us in the yard, or when our golfing buddies just like being with us, no strings attached, or when the folks we hang out with at the coffee shop share their lives, opinions, faults, and burdens with us. A happy leader is based in a happy person. These are the ordinary parts of life, and who we are in the ordinary moments reveals whether Christ is the real thing in us. And that is the spectacular part of the disciple's life. We establish little beachheads for God where we can and ask him to use them.
*Note: This idea first came to me in Henri Nouwen's book, In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership.
Written by Bill Hull
Taken from The Christian Leader by Bill Hull. Copyright © 2016 by Robert W. Hull. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.
Photo by John Price on Unsplash