There are many words in the English language we use to describe something, or someone. People are tall or thin. They have brown hair or they are bald. The weather is hot or cold, maybe rainy or windy. Vehicles are new or used. But there is one word that we use often and that is ordinary. It was an ordinary day. There was nothing out of the ordinary. In other words, things are the same. Sometimes day in and day out things are the same. Perhaps right now ordinary would be a good thing but if we are honest with ourselves ordinary is not what we want to be. Ordinary implies basic, boring, vanilla. Even in prophecy Jesus is described as ordinary. Listen to what Isaiah has to say. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.” Isaiah 53:2. This is part of Isaiah's suffering servant song prophecy about Jesus in chapter 53. Read it if you have the time.
Jesus is portrayed as ordinary...nothing to make Him stand out in a crowd. If you saw Him walking down the street you wouldn't look twice. Many of us are like that as well. There is nothing that makes stand out in a crowd if we just consider our appearance. Maybe that is the way it is supposed to be. By ourselves we are just ordinary. But think of Jesus. Other than His rag tag band of disciples who followed Him everywhere, and the crowds of people, Jesus the man looked like many other Jewish men of His day. The disciples probably thought the same thing...until Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on the mountain with Him and they saw Him transfigured. Then He was anything BUT ordinary. They got a glimpse of His divinity. And WOW, just wow!
Jesus has the power to change us as well. We probably won’t glow like He did but we will shine His light. And when we shine His light, people notice. When Jesus dwells within us we go from being ordinary to EXTRAordinary. Because I am betting that none of us wants to be just ordinary. We don't want to be average students or teachers. We want to be the teacher kids point to and say that one made the difference for me. We want to be that kid who catches on fire in one subject or another. We want to be that husband other guys look to and say...I want to be like him one day. Ordinary is for somebody else, not us.
God does not go looking for extraordinary people to do great things. He works through ordinary people like us and makes us extraordinary. We are no different that the 12 disciples. They were ordinary folks too...simple, uneducated for the most part, confused, self-absorbed. And like us, they didn't understand everything and they messed up and they got things wrong. Jesus kept pouring into them, just like He does for us, and little by little they were transformed and empowered. And God used them to caring change to the world in Jesus name. They became extraordinary. Jesus does that in our lives as well.
We May feel inadequate or very ordinary. Maybe we have been trying, in our own strength to do great things for the Lord. We will never be successful in that. But if we lean into the Lord in our ordinariness, and ask Him to work in and through us, then stand back. And watch what extraordinary things God will do in and through you. The disciples could never have done the amazing things they did to take the gospel message into the world on their own. We can't either. Look at these words from the Book of Acts. ”But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judaea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” That is how the disciples became extraordinary. The power and strength they used were not their own. It came from the Lord.
Too often we look at others and decide we will never be able to do the things they do. We are fearful of stepping out to try something new. All through the Bible we see people God has chosen who say and do these very things. Moses was sure God was speaking to the wrong guy. Gideon was the youngest kid in the family and from the smallest clan. How could God possibly use him? We do not always see the gifts and abilities God has given to us. But God has given us more than we know or want to admit. He doesn't need us to be spectacular to do the extraordinary in us. God takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary. Think about it, He used dirt to create humans. We are dust and to dust we will return. But God makes this dust amazing, and He uses us.
We are ordinary and God changes that. What God does need from us is an attitude that says God, whatever I have, is yours to use. When we can embrace that attitude, God can and will do the miraculous and extraordinary from what may seem like very little in us. So, invite Him in and then stand aside as He changes you from ordinary to extraordinary.
In His Grip
Pastor Matt W