Ordinary people, ordinary lives

Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.” (William Martin)

Life can seem very ordinary at times, a bit dull, disappointing — doing the same things day in and day out. Washing the clothes, ironing, cooking meals, dusting, sweeping the floors, buying food, mowing the lawn and even going to work. Have you ever stopped and day dreamed that something exciting might happen that will break the routine of life? I think we all have from time to time. 

We look at others and think their lives are far more exciting — but are they? Probably not, their lives are probably just as ordinary as yours and mine but grass is always greener over the fence, or we think so.

I have been reading the Gospel of John and one of the things that strikes me most is how ordinary the twelve disciples were. They were twelve ordinary everyday men with all the faults and sins that the rest of us have. There was nothing unique about them. They were not makers and shakers in their community. They had no outstanding gifts, were not highly intelligent, well educated or even powerful. They were as ordinary as you and I.

These days if a man of importances (i.e. a President) had to pick twelve men to change the world — I can guarantee he would pick twelve men that were in positions of power, most likely famous, well educated with many qualifications and letters after their name, men within the establishment, men of importances. Twelve men of significants and it wouldn't include fishermen or a tax collector.

Jesus wasn't after men of significances or men that were powerful or rich, nor did He want rabbis or scholars, those in the inner circle—He wanted ordinary men, men with faults (He even selected one that He knew would betray Him), men of faith and obediences, men that he could teach, willing to follow Him and be sent out to spread the Word. Men that would "turned the world upside down(Acts 17:6).

Do you remember Philip, he certainly was very ordinary but Jesus didn't see him that way.

"Philip was the kind of man nobody ever remembers to bring. He is quiet and shy—the kind who is easily overlooked, ignored or forgotten. The only record of Philip's actions is found in the gospel of John. The other gospels simply list him as one of the disciples. To read the other gospels, you might think that Philip is something of a "nobody". But, of course, in God's sight, nobody is a nobody. Everyone— even quiet, shy Philip—is somebody." (God's Loving Word by Ray C. Stedman)

We too need to remember this when we grow restless with our ordinary lives — God doesn't want us to be famous or grabbing headlines, running for President, seeking the spotlight, taking our families on TV or appearing in magazines — He wants ordinary folk quietly and meekly doing His work, spreading His Word and doing it with little fanfare or noise. God sees these ordinary acts as extraordinary.

“The "show business," which is so incorporated into our view of Christian work today, has caused us to drift far from Our Lord's conception of discipleship. It is instilled in us to think that we have to do exceptional things for God; we have not. We have to be exceptional in ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, surrounded by sordid sinners. That is not learned in five minutes.” ― Oswald Chambers

So, as you clean your homes, take care of your children, be a helpmate for your husband, go off to work, care for others, reach out to those in need, be a shoulder for someone to lean one, offer words of kindness—each of these simple and ordinary tasks mean extraordinary things to our Lord Jesus Christ. None of activities are seen as ordinary when we are serving Him. And through our ordinary work, we become extraordinary in His eyes. 

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 

(Colossians 3:23-24)


  1. The funny thing is that while other's lives make look more exciting than ours, they often are harder, more stressful, or just plain boring to those who are living them =) So we really can't know (bad English I know). We have to do our best with God's help, and pray for others =)

    1. Its true - other people's lives are not as exciting as we believe they are, but it doesn't stop us from wanting what they have!!

    2. Or what we "think" they have!!

  2. The quote at the top by William Martin is just so...great!

  3. So very true. I'm reading a series of books by the Thoenes that covers the time of Christ, and while a majority of the book is conjecture, it does remind me that the people of the Scriptures really were just ordinary people like you and me. Sometimes it feels like they must have been very different and special and "better" than we are, but the truth is that they were the common folk - He didn't come for the rich and righteous, but for the sinners and poor. Amazing, really, when you think about it.

    1. I've been studying John and that is one of the messages that Ray C. Stedman says in his book "God's Loving Word", the disciplines were very ordinary men - can you imagine today a president picking 12 ordinary men to change the world, no one would ever consider it, it would be laughed at. It is amazing, but is a very good reminder, that us, as very ordinary people can make a big differences in other lives and we do not need to seek fame to change the world person by person.


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