Extraordinary faith in ordinary times


Well, another Christmas has come and gone. I hope for you and your family that it was one in which you were able to experience the true hope, love, joy, and peace that the coming of Messiah allows us to experience. Now, in the coming days, we begin to put away the Christmas decorations, exchange that shirt that didn’t quite fit, and get back to normal routines of eating that don’t involve cakes and pies with every meal.

For Joseph and Mary, the aftermath of the first Christmas was a little different. After the incredible events surrounding the birth of Jesus including several appearances of angels, it appears the new parents probably settled into the routines of caring for their new baby as any set of parents would. But then, somewhere within that first two years, several wealthy Magi appeared at Joseph and Mary’s house. These men, who had traveled many months from the east to find the child Jesus, brought wonderful and expensive gifts to honor this new King. And then they left. Perhaps Joseph and Mary wondered what the next amazing event would be in their lives. Well, it came almost immediately when an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to flee to Egypt with his new family to protect Jesus from Herod. (Matthew 2:13) Joseph obeyed that very night, and so Jesus’ early years were spent in a foreign land hiding from an evil king. And then what? Interestingly, we know almost nothing of Jesus’ childhood from that point until he was twelve years old. There are some stories in books outside the accepted canon of scripture, but these seem more myth than truth. We are left to assume that these years passed in mainly ordinary routines of life, day to day, week to week, month to month. Ordinary!? We are still talking about Immanuel, the God-Man, Messiah, the King of Kings, right? Indeed, it seems that for the most central figure in all of human history, most of his life from about 2 until age 30, was ordinary.

And so it is for us. Most of us live in the ordinary. It is where we are supposed to live. It is what God has for us. Don’t get me wrong, occasionally God will call some of us to something extraordinary. For example, two families we know, the Hartsfields and the Fishers were called this past year to move to the Dominican Republic as missionaries with Project Manana. (See their stories at www.projectmanana.org) But for the vast majority of us, we will be called in 2015 to live in ordinary circumstances dealing with ordinary events. So, how are we to live in ordinary times? Extraordinarily! Though God may call most of us to live in ordinary circumstances in 2015, God calls all of us to be extraordinary people. Paul says in Romans 1 that believers are “loved by God and called to be holy people.” How can we live that out in the day to day numbing ordinariness of life? We need look no further than the four words upon which we focused in the four Sundays of Advent. (See the previous four posts.) To be extraordinary people we need to have an extraordinary hope based on faith not random chance. We need to have an extraordinary love for people that is not based on their attractiveness or what they can do for us. We need to have an extraordinary joy that is so deep seated that it is invulnerable to the ever changing circumstances of life. And we need to have an extraordinary peace that is there even when things don’t go our way. Make no mistake believers, we are not ordinary. We are children of the King, sons and daughters of God. (John 1:12) Let’s determine that in 2015, we are going to live like the extraordinary people God has called us to be for His glory.

GBU – Romans 15:13

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