“Next” January 21
Day 15 “The New Normal: The Not So Ordinary, Ordinary Christian Life”
Christians are supposed to have an impact on the world in which we live. Like the followers of Jesus in Acts 17:6–7, present-day followers of Jesus should be turning the world upside down. However, when we think about turning the world upside down for Jesus, we often think we must live “radical” lives. That is, we need to sell our cars, give up movies, and relocate to the Bolivian jungle in order to engage nomadic peoples who’ve never heard the gospel. After all, isn’t that the real way we make a serious impact.
But, what if we are called to a “not so” new way in the “Next”? Most gospel ministry involves ordinary people doing ordinary things but with gospel intentionality. If we can understand this, then we might see an “ordinary movement” that involves ordinary Christians who live on purpose in their everyday life. Isn’t God calling us to simply care about what He cares about. Looking closely at the Book of James, there are a few categories crucial to our witness where living radically for Jesus might not “look” that radical at all:
Loving Your Neighbor:
The ordinary Christian life looks like love for your neighbor (Mth 22:34–40). Do you genuinely care for those around you. Quoting Francis of Assisi “preach the gospel and if necessary use words” doesn’t actually work because the gospel is an announcement. Ordinary Christians will love their neighbor through acts of kindness and mercy while sharing the good news of Jesus.
How often have you heard people ask how they can plug-in to their church? Should they join a committee, sign-up for a mission trip, or coach a team? Maybe. Or, they may simply, eat with lots of people this week. In other words, ministry isn’t always astonishing. It might look like a barbecue, or a neighborhood basketball game, or going grocery shopping for your neighbor. Ordinary Christians befriend people and are like Jesus, “friend of sinners”. As we open our hearts and our doors we show hospitality by caring for foster children, ministering to veterans, or bringing a homeless person to the house for dinner. In short, Hospitality is what we extend to outsiders, strangers, and those in physical and spiritual need.
Caring for the Vulnerable and Voiceless:
Our Father cares for the vulnerable and voiceless. He cares for the orphans, widows and those that don’t have a voice in life. He cares for everyone made in his image. And to care for any image-bearer is to honor the Image Maker. Ordinary Christians care for the orphan and the widows, that is, to care for those in distress and need protection.
You don’t have to move to the jungle in order to live radically for Jesus. In other words, living radically for Jesus might not look that radical at all, rather, it may seem to be ordinary on the surface. Given its eternal impact, I guess you could say, it’s the ‘Not So” Ordinary, Ordinary Christian life.