We are not called to do “big” things for God.
This notion of being great comes more from our surrounding culture than it does the Bible, and many people are paralyzed because they don’t feel like they are doing enough or are gifted enough to be a hero of the faith.
The truth is, when we begin to see the Bible as the revelation of God working through ordinary men and women and not some superheroes of faith, we begin to see its true power for our everyday lives. Abraham, Moses, Hannah, Paul, Mary and whomever else we want to list from the Bible were all ordinary men and women who trusted God, struggled with sin and sought to live faithfully where God called them.
In Mark 9, the disciples are arguing about which one of them is the greatest. You can imagine them discussing how much they had done for God — how many people they had healed and how many had come to hear them teach.
Jesus asks them about this discussion, and then, in verse 35, he says, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Greatness in God’s eyes is marked more by humility and service.
Power in the kingdom of God
Truly world-changing lives don’t seek to do “big” things; they seek to do the ordinary, mundane things by faith for the glory of God. Lives that truly change the world love God and love neighbor in the everyday tasks of washing dishes, dropping kids off at school, meeting for coffee, checking cows and buying groceries.
We are called to be faithful to God and to who he has called us to be right where he has placed us. We are salt and light. We are the hands and feet of Jesus right now in the lives we are already living.
The question is, will we live up to this calling?
When we see the power of the ordinary and the call to trust and love God in all things, it changes the way we see faithfulness and greatness in the kingdom of God. God cares about the mundane, and it is through the mundane where we live out the Great Commission and obey the Great Commandment.
There will be times where we will go and spread the gospel around the world or where we will seek justice and do good in specific ways outside of the everyday, but the bulk of our lives are lived doing ordinary tasks. We have to see the ordinary as the place where we are “last of all and servant of all.”
Leading people to ordinary faithfulness
This paradigm shift must begin with those of us who pastor and lead the church.
We have tended to allow the celebrity culture around us to influence what we think of as great instead of equipping men and women to be faithful in their everyday lives.
When we think of ourselves as entrepreneurs instead of shepherds and are more concerned with numbers over faithfulness, we are teaching our people to value the big over the truly great. Maybe we should return to the description of faithfulness Jesus gives us, that of humility and sacrifice, instead of the advice of the latest leadership guru and seek to equip our people to be faithful in the everyday, mundane powerful moments of their lives.
God wants to use your ordinary
Don’t seek to do big things for God. Try to be faithful where God has called you and in the ordinary tasks of the day God has given to you to live out this faithfulness.
Our Christian life is more than our mountaintop experiences. God gives us mundane tasks and ordinary days for us to practice humility, service and love.
Love God and neighbor around your dinner table and as you wash dishes. Be salt and light as you shop for groceries and pump your gas. Walk with humility and serve others as you pick your kids up from school and go out to eat with your family or friends.
These are the moments where greatness in the kingdom of God is lived out.
These are the moments God uses to change the world.
Zac Harrel is pastor of First Baptist Church in Gustine, Texas.