Worship and Obedience in the Ordinary
I am excited to be back writing the blog for this week. I have been on a bit of a hiatus from anything outside of working and taking care of my family for a while now. For the past 4 or 5 months my family and I have been in a transition period from full time ministry up in Chicagoland back down to the life of a “normal” job and volunteering in ministry.
If you have ever made a transition like this, or really any big decision that changes the direction of your life, than you know what all goes into those decisions and even how it takes a lot of time getting used to life in a different environment. I want to take just a few moments to share some of what God has been teaching me about the importance of being faithful in the ordinary, mundane, and small moments of our lives.
Transitions and Big Decisions
I have made several big transitions in my life and one thing that is the same about each one is that they all start with a big decision. Most faithful believers understand or are aware of the importance of really seeking God when it comes to the big stuff. I'm talking about things like, where you're going to go to college, who you're going to marry, what job to take, what house to buy.. you get the idea. Most of us, even non-believers, understand that those are big decisions that require seeking wisdom, a lot of thought, and a lot of prayer before we make them.
I can tell you that big transitions aren't always easy. Even when the transition is a good one or for a better situation, change is always a little bit uncomfortable. And after we've spent so much time in prayer and seeking direction and wisdom to make these big decisions, step out in faith and move, then what?
What Happens When the "Big" is Over?
When life keeps going after we've moved forward in faith and things aren't always sunshine and rainbows, or maybe life is a lot more calm and normal, do we continue to bathe those moments in prayer? Do we continue to seek the leading of the Spirit when we are deciding how to respond to our kids wanting more snacks? Or how we are going to react when someone cuts us off in traffic?
After the dust has settled and the big moments are over there are a lot of everyday mundane moments ahead. In reality the number of small or seemingly insignificant moments far surpass the number of big moments in our lives.
How do you prepare for your normal? How are you lifting up the mundane moments of your Monday's and Tuesday's? Are you aware of the significance in the way we react to our family, our co-workers, or the person in the drive-thru who messed up your order?
When I got back down to Nashville things were definitely not easy and starting a job that wasn't full-time ministry was not really what I would have chosen. For the first two months I barely even saw my wife and kids because of certain situations that happened after we stepped out in faith and followed where God was leading us. In those times I had to rely on God and seek Him for strength and wisdom but when things started getting normal and calm I really had to learn to seek His face daily.
Worship and Obedience
In John 14, Jesus talks about this connection between obedience and love for the Father and how our actions are the fruit of our heart for Him. My Pastor likes to say, “What we do reveals what we believe.” This simply speaks to how we act and react in our normal moments throughout our day.
In Romans 12, Paul tells us that giving our whole selves as a sacrifice is a true act of worship and if we are to give big moments then we must also give our little moments including our attitudes, thoughts, and conversations.
This really hit home for me when I realized how I would get upset at the smallest things with my kids. I would raise my voice and get aggravated over something that I could not even remember as I am typing this. I think about the things that would get me frustrated at work or interactions with customers and how each of these moments was an opportunity for me to worship God in obedience and in my actions and reactions.
Not So Mundane
When I realized that every moment I have, every conversation or response, every thought and every action, is an opportunity for me to worship and be faithful to my Savior, I began to see that these small moments were not so small. I think it is easy as a Christian to be fooled by the thought that if you aren't doing something grand, that you aren't playing an important role in the kingdom.
If you aren't a pastor or a speaker, a leader or a famous missionary, then you just weren't called to ministry. The reality is we are all called ministers of the gospel and every moment we have on this earth is full of opportunities God has given us specifically to be His ambassadors. The fact that we are even given the opportunity to be called His sons and daughters and to play a part in His plan to redeem the lost is huge! (For a great read on this topic check out Jordan Raynor's book "Called to Create").
What To Do With Ordinary
I love that Jesus always called the ordinary. His closest friends and disciples weren't rich or from high positions. Jesus chose the ordinary and did extraordinary things through them. He used ordinary things like mud and spit to heal the blind. He used a simple snack of fish and loaves to feed thousands.
He still uses and works through the ordinary.
Know that God wants to use the everyday moments in your life to do amazing things. He can use your conversations, and your awareness of His presence in the small moments for eternal impact in lives around you. He can use the worship through the mundane moments of your day today to strengthen you for something bigger coming tomorrow. God wants all of us. If we are truly worshiping Him and living as holy sacrifices, then we have to learn to worship Him in the small, ordinary moments of our lives.