Generally speaking, we don’t appreciate the small, the simple, and the ordinary. We, as a culture, have an insatiable appetite for the spectacular. We are drawn to stories of renowned celebrities or athletes, the rich and famous and their grandiose lifestyles, the sensationalized news stories of disasters, corrupt politicians, sinister plots of murderers, terrorists, and the like. The more glamorous, shocking or scandalous, the better. A similar attitude has also crept into the church in some ways.
Our modern church culture, much like the world’s, gravitates toward big name worship groups, preachers, teachers, churches or conferences where miracles, healings, and deliverances are a regular occurrence. Many sanctuaries today, with their flashing lights, multiple screens, and big, loud sound systems resemble a concert hall or night club more than a house of God. The more people, the bigger the sanctuary, the louder and flashier the music, the better. I often wonder what message we are trying to communicate.
In stark contrast, we see Jesus, the uncreated God in human form, who was born in a stable to a poor, peasant couple. The only fanfare that accompanied His birth was a few angels and a star, seen only by a handful of mostly ordinary people. After He began His ministry of healing, miracles, and deliverance, He often told those to whom He ministered to tell no one what had happened. He spent much time in solitude, communing with His Father in prayer. He often slipped away or even withdrew from crowds of needy people. He never sought or drew attention to Himself. His lifestyle and message were simple, yet life altering, for those who believed in Him.
The early church differed greatly from our present day model as well. Most congregations were small groups who met in houses, shared simple meals and fellowshipped together, in the Word, worship, and prayer. They sought to be faithful witnesses to the lost through their conduct, speech, and obedience to the Lord. The church grew dramatically in spite of great persecution and without high tech equipment, slick programs, or fancy buildings.
God most often works through the small, simple, and ordinary, which make up most of our lives. He speaks to our hearts in a still, small voice. He can speak through powerful, anointed messages, and He also speaks through the weak and broken. He can touch someone through a supernatural encounter, or through a simple act of kindness from a friend or stranger. He can instantly deliver someone from a lifetime of addiction, and He can bring freedom through an ordinary process of healing and restoration. He can encourage someone through the anointed words of a prophet, or through a routine conversation with a friend.
I love to see Him move in spectacular ways, but I am learning to appreciate the ways He works through the common, and often mundane, as well. Quiet times of stillness in His presence in the early morning; the songs of birds waking to sing His praises; the beauty of a sunrise or sunset, are simple, ordinary reminders of His love and care. A regular conversation with a friend, a time of worship and prayer with a small group, can transform a heart and ignite greater love for Him and others. These are the things we often miss in our quest for the dramatic. I’ve often heard it said that we limit God by not expecting Him to do great and mighty things, and this is true. But let us not miss Him when He chooses to move in small, ordinary, and routine ways either.
How has God worked in ordinary, small, routine ways in your life? I would love to hear your stories, comment below!