What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun? A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. Also, the sun rises and the sun sets; and hastening to its place it rises there again. Blowing toward the south, then turning toward the north, the wind continues swirling along; and on its circular courses the wind returns. All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again. All things are wearisome;
Sitting with my family the other night watching the premier of “The Voice” I was reminded of this post that I began several days before. Sometimes the Lord will simply place a thought in my heart and then will build on it before He ever gives me the sit down and be still time to write it out. This thought pulls all the way back to an overnight trip that my husband and I took back in August.
I had been scrolling through colleges and looking at seminary degrees and researching and on our way to our destination I asked him what he thought about me going back to school and getting a degree in Biblical counseling. He then said, “why is just being a wife and mother not enough?”
As we sat down and watched “The Voice” there were at least two contestants that had abandoned their families to pursue their “musical dreams” and they claimed to be doing so for their kids, so they could show them that it was okay to go after their dreams.
After the second one my husband and I both looked at each other and then asked our girls which they thought the children of these two would have preferred… Watching their parents forsake those they claimed to love in order to pursue a personal dream or to have them forsake a personal dream in order to be there for the one’s they claimed to love. It didn’t take a second for our girls to answer. They knew that those kids would rather have had their family together.
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends
How easily we have allowed Satan to destroy our families and our faith through the shallow promises of fame and mountaintop highs. When did being a faithful spouse, a loving parent, a loyal employer and/or employee stop being enough?
And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
In this same week we watched an episode of “The Waltons”. In this episode Olivia had taken a job as a seamstress and she was amazing at her trade. So much so that the owner of the business wanted her to run that store while she opened another one in another town. This coming with week long trips to fashion shows in New York. Olivia flattered struggled with many sleepless nights as to what she should do… deciding that her first priority was to her family she declined the opportunity. That’s quite the opposite of the stories of many today.
I believe it so often has boiled down to the fact that we have forgotten the sacredness of the ordinary. This is not immune to the church or even to my own heart. Perhaps we just might have set ourselves up to live as Phil Waldrep stated earlier this week “from mountaintop experience to mountaintop experience“. We drag ourselves through the daily routine simply to get us through to the next big thing. Whether it be the end of our school or work week living Friday night to Friday night or in our spiritual walk living Sunday morning to Sunday morning or conference to conference but,
Discipleship isn’t about running from mountain-top experience to mountain-top experience. It is about denying yourself, taking up the cross and following Jesus.
~ Phil Waldrep
Our lives are scheduled from schools start to Fall Break to Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Years to Valentines to Easter to Spring Break to Summer Vacation. Our church life seldom looks any different than our kids school schedule or the Wal-Mart seasonal decoration aisles.
While the calendar may seem to set us up to live from one major holiday to the next, what if there is far more to expect from the rest of our days? While holy days mark events that dramatically shape both religious and secular worldviews, our ordinary days give us the space to live these events out. In the repetitive rhythm of the church calendar, human hearts are invited to beat expectantly of a greater kingdom. Ordinary time is never ordinary, for God’s presence always involves the unexpected.
~ Jill Carattini
I am sure you have heard the saying about the dash. When these bodies have breathed their last and our spirit returns to the One who gave it to us, we are down to two mountaintop experiences. The day of our birth and the day of our death. Yet these two mountaintop experiences are not what define us… but it is instead the valley of the dash.
Strangers from the time of the laying of the stone until the day of the destruction of the earth will walk by and see the mountaintops, but only those that were a part of your ordinary everyday life will have a clue about that dash.
So we can live our lives so that people who never met us or really knew us can quote the dates of our mountaintops to mountaintops as we hop from one to the next or we can instead choose to dwell long and purposeful in the valley of the dash. Working not for fame, but from faith. Faith that the Lord is there in the ordinary. After all He laid aside the glory of heaven and became ordinary for us…
For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
Just an ordinary Baby from an ordinary girl who married an ordinary man who would teach Him the way he had been commanded by their Heavenly Father in and through ordinary life. An ordinary Baby who would grow to become an ordinary Kid with questions, who would become an ordinary Man who would teach other ordinary men to do extraordinary things for the Extraordinary God in the midst of ordinary days. Who would die on a cross with ordinary thieves so that ordinary girls like me might be saved.
The information in that dash is reserved only for those who were there for the ordinary. The ordinary matters. It’s easy to claim to live for Jesus up there on that mountaintop, and sometimes instead of living Jesus out in the valley of the shadow of death we just want to throw up a tabernacle right there up top, but Jesus brought Peter, James, and John down from the mountain (Mark 9).
Live for Him in the ordinary. It’s never just another ordinary day.