Ordinary vs. Extraordinary?
Motivational slogans are all around us. Success is ours if we embrace it. Strive for an extraordinary life. We are destined for great things.
But what happens when the decades pass and we find ourselves looking back on commonplace—dare I say, ordinary?—lives?
Greatness—in the way it is generally understood today—is not extolled in Scripture. Again and again, Jesus explained the way to greatness is the way of humility. We are to become like little children to enter the kingdom (Mt. 18:4). The greatest leaders in God’s eyes are those who are servants (Lk. 22:26-27).
When Jesus sent out his disciples in pairs, they returned rejoicing at the great power they experienced over even the demons. But He rebuked them saying, “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Our boasting should not be about what we do, it should be about Who we belong to and what He has done.
Variations of the word humble appear in Scripture more than 100 times. Even John the Baptist understood “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30). There was no room for celebrity status in John’s life and ministry, not when Jesus was to receive all the glory.
Yet we are bombarded with admonitions, even by other Christians, to achieve greatness. If we fail, we’re told it’s because we didn’t dream big enough, try hard enough, or have enough faith. Don’t settle for ordinary. Pursue extraordinary exploits or get out of the way so others can accomplish what you can’t.
But perhaps the problem is found in how we define ordinary. God values ordinary people. People who understand they bring nothing of any worth to the table of salvation and who realize their greatest inheritance arrives through the response of a humble heart (Matthew 5:3, 5).
Maybe God doesn’t want us to accomplish great things as defined by the world’s standards. Perhaps He wants us to discover the “extra” in the ordinary as we toil faithfully where He plants us, willingly accepting obscurity if that’s what He has called us to do.
Does God use ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things? Absolutely. Most of the time, however, He uses ordinary people to accomplish ordinary things that become extraordinary when He gets the all the glory.
How might your “ordinary” life glorify God today?