January 11, 2010

Putting the Extra into Ordinary

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13 (NIV)

We’ve made it passed the first week of a new year. Hooray! Last week I mentioned I don’t make resolutions at the beginning of each year. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have things I’d like to accomplish or strive to be better at in the days ahead. I will do my best to grow in grace this year.

However, I do have to watch myself because, at times, I find myself thinking of all the wonderful things I could do for Christ. Why not teach three or four Bible studies a week instead of one or two? Hey, I could be the new Beth Moore! Then I could find a way to triple my speaking engagements for the year. Three times the gospel spreading – what an impact that could have on people.

Then there is Pocket Full of Change, the faith-based, non-profit I work for each week. I could spend all summer on the road with Cheryle and still get two books published by the end of 2010. How glorious a dream!

Until I wake up.

I feel foolish for thinking such things! I mean, the world already has a Beth Moore, not too mention a Kay Arthur and an Anne Graham Lotz, so who needs me?

Maybe God does and the best way I can serve Him is to realize who I am and who He is.

Let me digress a bit and tell you about a Christmas present I received. First let me say, I was blessed by each gift of love I received. But I wanted to tell you about a gift my friend Kiki, gave me. It was a book called, The Glory of Christmas.

Unfortunately we had some sickness in the family over the holiday, so it wasn’t until after Christmas that I got to sit down and read a spell. The book contains the combined writings of Max Lucado, Charles Swindoll, Anne Graham Lotz and Henry Blackaby. Often as a believer, I have said and taught that Christmas is everyday for the Christian, so I decided to not put off reading this gem until Christmas of this year.

Let me share a passage from Max Lucado that gave me the push to write to you today. Max described the night of Christ’s birth like this:

“An ordinary night with ordinary sheep and ordinary shepherds. And were it not for a God who love to hook an “extra” on the front of the ordinary, the night would have gone unnoticed”. [pg 11]

This brings me back to knowing who I am and who God is, especially in light of the deeds to be done for cause of Christ. I am an ordinary person: an ordinary sheep if you will. I have an ordinary life and ordinary talents. Nothing I can do in/and of myself will ever be anything but ordinary. However, I serve an extraordinary God.

There is no sin in wanting to do great things for God, as long as our hearts are truly pure in our desire. However, perhaps we strive too much in our own power to do the extraordinary when it’s only required that we give Christ our ordinary self and let Him do the “extra” part without our help.

People are quick to notice grand events and grand talent, and give the individual all the credit for it. Just watch American Idol! But when Peter and John, in Acts 4:13, came into a midst of men, they were described as ordinary men who astonished the crowd. Why? Because the crowd could tell they had been with Jesus.

With love from ordinary me,

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