At Work & Theology 101

The Reality and the Glory of Our Ordinary Days

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The Reality of Our Ordinary Days

What do your days look like? How do they begin, and how do they end?

If you’re anything like me, my days look pretty ordinary.

They are filled with instant oatmeal in the morning as I scurry out the door, somehow always forgetting my laptop charger, as I begin my half-an-hour commute to the office, where I work diligently until about 5 o’clock, when I then rush home to participate, if I’m lucky, in some brief form of exercise, cook a quick meal for dinner, and then face the loads of laundry and mounds of house chores and rent bills that seem to never end.

Ordinary life and ordinary time are what some may call my “bread-and-butter.” How, though, can these rhythms of ordinary living be nourishingly sweet and even glorious?

We live in a time and a culture constantly celebrating the extraordinary, and yet, the reality is that daily life – that is, what makes up our time and culture – is ordinary. It’s instant oatmeal and work commutes.

We are ordinary people living in ordinary places. But to God, we are also so much more.

God’s Glory in the Ordinary

Hebrews, concludes with some famous exhortations we have all heard. Hebrews 13:5 says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” While this Scripture is particularly comforting during times of hardship, it is also comforting during times of ordinary life.

For me, and perhaps for you, sometimes it is not difficulty that makes me think that God will forsake me, but just the routine of daily life. There is no “hill to climb,” no vision given, no miracle performed, nothing wonderful or beautiful – just the commonplace day in and day out.

Sometimes, we have the idea that God is going to do something exceptional, that he is consistently preparing and fitting us for something extraordinary. Please hear me, he is! He is preparing us for the most extraordinary thing we could ever imagine: the New Heavens and the New Earth!

But, even more, as we trod on, in our studies and our jobs, by his grace, we find that God is glorifying himself here and now, in this very moment.

Eugene Peterson once said,

Christian spirituality means living in the mature wholeness of the gospel. It means taking all the elements of your life—children, spouse, job, weather, possessions, relationships—and experiencing them as an act of faith. God wants all the material of our lives.

If Christians are called to live in the mature wholeness of the gospel, then that means we must take every single element of our lives – as ordinary as they may be – and live into them as a tangible act of faith in King Jesus.

God wants our work, our extracurricular activities, our afternoon treadmill runs, our meals, our conversations, and our fears about the future.

He not only desires to be Lord of those things, but he is the Maker, the Creator, the Engineer of those very ordinary things.

A Prayer for Our Ordinary Days

How can you begin to take all elements of your life and experience them as an act of faith?

Do you believe that no matter your circumstances, as ordinary as they may be, God is with you always and will never leave you?

Father, thank you that you never leave us, even when life seems so ordinary and common. Thank you that you are still working in and through our lives of instant oatmeal and rent bills. Help us to see your grace in every aspect of our lives. We are so thankful for the opportunity to praise you in this very present minute. Amen.

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  • Volunteer Coordinator

    Thank you very much for your thoughts! Right time! Just had an email from a volunteer who suffers from a team member. And he can´t escape it. For him facing the ordinary means a lot. And I wonder how it will make him grow. So the ordinary is special, even if it seems hard sometimes.

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