Mundane is Glorious

But we urge you, brothers, to [love one another] more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. 1 Thess 4.10-12

You probably won’t hear this verse read at many college graduation ceremonies. Keynote speakers usually encourage graduates to aspire to greatness, not to live quietly and mind their own affairs.

When I first believed in Christ, I dreamed of becoming a Christian performer, singing before thousands at Jesus festivals. I didn’t yearn to trudge off to work every day in the same office for the next 25 years, get married, have kids, go to Little League games, serve in the church, then die. That seemed so ordinary, pedestrian, and bland.

But there’s this little thing called making a living. So I became an elementary art teacher, bouncing among five different buildings, teaching buck-toothed kids how to cut out hearts, carve soap animals and make construction paper Christmas trees.

I got married, had kids, went to Little League games for 19 years, and served in our church, where I’ve worked in 2 offices since 1980.

Most Christians lives aren’t remarkable. Most of us aren’t speaking at conferences, writing books or rocking at festivals. Most of us work at rather humdrum jobs, or labor with little thanks in our homes serving our families. We faithfully plod away, going to care groups and serving our church.

If someone made a movie about most of us it would probably be rated “B” for “boring,” or “U” for “uneventful”.† But when, by God’s grace, we “live quietly”, and mind our own affairs, and work with our hands, God is honored.

He’s no more glorified by the pastor preaching to thousands than he is by the Mom trying to get her one-year-old to eat his Gerber peas for the hundredth time.

He’s no more blessed by the man who leads thousands in worship than by the dad who runs a high lift all day, plays catch with his kids after dinner, and falls asleep reading a Bible story to his kids before bed.

Mundane is glorious in the kingdom of God. Because it takes God’s grace to live quiet lives of faithfulness, serving, and loving.† Aspire to do all you do, no matter how commonplace, for God’s glory.

photo by Myrrien

Comments

  1. Wendy says

    Thank you for this reminder. It is so easy to think that just because I am not doing something amazing that lots of people see, or even just something that seems lofty to me, that I am not doing anything with my life. But there are lots of ways that I can live my life as a young single girl to the glory of God. Going to work and sitting in front of a computer doesn’t seem very special, but if I can – by God’s grace – do that each day for the glory of God, then I have done as He has commanded. It is good to be reminded that God calls us each to different lives – and even if mine seems very ordinary, it is the one He has called me to and it is the one I need to be faithful in.

  2. says

    Hey there Mark!
    Thank you for yet another great reminder for the day!
    So many times I find myself wanting to be noticed, I dress it up and say that I want to “serve the Lord” but in reality, it’s my pride that wants served, I have to die daily to that.
    There is definitely something to be said for the ordinariness of our lives, lately I’ve been thinking more about that and funny how that’s what your post was about today. I’ve been sensing a call to ministry, my desire is to be a pastor someday, it’s funny because every time that I sense that something flares up at home. I guess what I’m finding is that God uses the ordinary things and the conflicts that we have at home to school us so to speak and grow us up so that he can receive glory and honor and we can step back and go “wow! how did He do that?”
    Anyway, I probably got off track there a bit but thank you again for such a wonderful reminder that God is still in control and very aware of us even in the humdrum parts of our lives.
    Blessings
    Ron Reffett

  3. says

    We have a real tendency as evangelicals to contradict this post with our adulation for famous pastors and religious figures. Tell me you have not seen the stampede to get an autograph! But do we value the T4G or DGM or SC janitor?

  4. Anonymous says

    Thanks much for this timely reminder. What a wonderful truth – I don’t have to be anything great! As long as I’m faithful in what God has called me to do, it is bringing glory to God! What freedom.

  5. says

    Hey Wendy,

    You really are giving God glory by faithfully going to work each day and working as unto Him. Everything we do to the glory of God, no matter how small, is pleasing to him. I believe you’ll be amazed in heaven at the reward you’ll receive for your faithful serving.

    Hi Ron,

    You are so right – God cares much more about our homes and families and character than about our ministry. I once heard someone say, “Success in any other area of life doesn’t make up for failure at home.” That truly sobers me and puts the fear of the Lord into me.

    Jon,

    I agree. I once had the privilege of helping man a small booth at a large Christian media convention, and people were lined up for autographs from “famous” Christian authors, but some of the publishers of Puritan works and Spurgeon’s works had few visitors to their booths.

    Hey Anonymous,

    Amen! What freedom! Isn’t God good!

    Hi Yeller,

    Glad you were encouraged. Thanks for all the times you’ve encouraged me.

  6. Kay McCoy says

    Mark:

    Your post hits very close to home. How easy it can be to stand before a microphone and watch the loving, worshipful faces moved by the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given us. How pleasing the kind words of the brethren in recognition of the gifts.

    How excruciatingly difficult it can be to clean up the mess of a loved one whether it be a child or an elderly family member? How painful when the deeds go unnoticed?
    Which is more blessed?

    Jesus said “take my yoke upon you and learn of me; For I am meek and lowly in heart.”
    Matt 11:29

    What would our modern, sanitary life be without the garbage man, the street sweeper, or the sewage treatment plant worker?

    Serving the Lord has a glamorous side for some. For the great majority it is as mundane as washing feet or carrying the afflicted to the doctor.

    The old hymn rings true(written more than 1,200 years ago) “Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise”. Jesus never sought the praise of men, rather he sought the praise of “The Holy Father” the great God in heaven. Oh, to be more like my wonderful, counselor Jesus.

    Thank you Mark for the powerful words that have spoken to my heart.

  7. says

    Hey Kay,

    Thanks for your poignant comments.

    Each of your examples is so powerful, from the family member caring for a loved one to the one carrying a sufferer to the doctor. I too want to be more like Jesus, seeking only the praise of the Lord.

    Kay, you are a living example of what this post is about – living to glorify Jesus when no one but Him sees it.

  8. Kay McCoy says

    Mark:

    Thank you for your kind remarks. I want you to know that I see in you and Joe Ryer, as well as the body of believers as SGC, the humility and meeknes that reflects the light of Jesus.

    I know for certain that being a Pastor is not easy. I hope no one took my comments that way.

    Thank you Mark, Joe and Stephen(whom I do not know personally). Thank you for loving Jesus and His children.

    Thanks to all of those who will never stand behind a pulpit to preach the gospel or lead a worship team. God can see your sacrifice and one day he will express his gratitude to you face to face and eye to eye. Praise God for his precious promises.

    I am mindful of David left alone to tend the sheep while his brothers went to be annointed. Yet God said he was “the man after God’s own heart”.

    Moses wandered in the wilderness for 40 years! On two seperate occasions!!! Thats 80 years in the wilderness!! Sometimes we may feel like we are doing 80 years in the wilderness? Be encouraged God can still find us no matter how far out in timbuck two we might think we are. He only ask us to have a willing heart, thats all.

  9. says

    Hey Kay!

    I don’t think anyone would take your comments the wrong way. I agree – thanks to all who serve in secret! For example, to me, all who serve in our Children’s Ministry are some of the major heroes in our church. And we’ve got lots of others who serve unnoticed and unthanked.

    Thanks again for your encouragement and some great comments!

    Mark

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