Embracing the Ordinary.

Posted on August 8, 2011

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The Gospel of Luke begins with the stories of two women whose faith played a huge part in the resurrection of Jesus. 

First, Elizabeth is told by the angel Gabriel that she will finally be able to have a child in her old age (John the Baptist). Then Mary is told that she will become pregnant with Jesus, the savior of the world, even though she is a virgin.

These miracles happened through two very ordinary women. Mary’s reaction to the angel Gabriel’s message demonstrated her undeniable faith. Luke 1:38 says Mary responded “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true.” 

She didn’t express signs of worry about how she would be treated by society or fear that  her fiance, Joseph, would leave her. She accepted the responsibility and gift of God working through her with joy and celebrated with Elizabeth by expressing faith and praise.

God continually does extraordinary things through ordinary people. 

Read that again.

God continually does extraordinary things through ordinary people. 

Today, I finally came to the realization that I have been extremely selfish in the way I’ve lived my life. The fact is, I don’t want to be ordinary. I’ve asked God to accomplish great things through me. I truly want His will to be done. But the problem is that my motives are anything but pure. I want God’s will to be done and I want His will to result in me receiving status and recognition in this world.

That’s SO not fair of me. Jesus sent us His only Son, knowing that He would be rejected and killed so we would have eternal life. And I cannot grasp the enormity of this gift. I act more like James and John did when they asked to sit in places of honor in heaven (John 20:20-28) when I should be more concerned with understanding how I can be available so God can work through me.

I’m so worried about myself and what’s in it for me that I am unable to see the big picture. 

One of the reasons people find it hard to follow Jesus is because he flips many assumptions on their heads. For example, when He arrived on the scene, people expected the Savior to be a strong military ruler who would save them from the Romans’ influence. Yet, Jesus’ kingdom is all about serving. 

In Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus says “You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave. For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.”

He actually saved people from something far more dangerous than the Romans, He saved them (and us) from the consequence of sin (death). We will have eternal life in heaven because Jesus paid the price for us, with His life. 

The most powerful being in the universe came to earth knowing He would be rejected, beaten, betrayed and killed. He knew He would appear powerless to many, when He is actually the most powerful. He knew He would suffer because of something that was not His fault. It was ours’.

He did it anyway. 

Just as people had unrealistic expectations in Jesus’ day, many of us expect God to help free us from all of our problems. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a good job or the stability of a good income. But God also says to love Him with all of our heart, soul and mind. (Matthew 22:37). 

When I demonstrate that I’m more interested in worldly success than in God’s will being done, I am not loving Him with my all of my heart, soul and mind. I’m trying to save my life in this world, rather than losing it for His sake (John 3:16).

I need to submit to doing God’s will, not my own. I need to stop being afraid of being ordinary. I need to embrace it.

I’m going to work on following Mary’s lead and being ordinary so God can do extraordinary things through me.

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