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Sacred in the ordinary

Most of us live fairly ordinary lives.

I have no doubt all of us can do unique and dazzling work for at least five-minutes a day, and maybe you’re a star and can keep the show running a little bit longer, but what about all the time between your spectacular feats?

Here is how Jesus lived:

Jesus woke up.

Jesus went to the bathroom.

Jesus ate breakfast.

Walked to the shop.

Opened the shop.

Took and fulfilled work orders.

Cleaned and closed the shop.

Walked home.

Cleaned and fed the animals.

Washed.

Ate dinner.

Talked to the neighbors.

Went to bed.

The next morning:

Jesus woke up

Jesus went to the bathroom.

Jesus ate breakfast.

And so on…

For Thirty years.

Thirty.

~ An excerpt from Samir Selmanovic’s book It’s really about God

Jesus spent the bulk of his life in the routine and ordinary. And yet he was no less divine throughout it.

I don’t think he sucked it up and thought his life was menial and mundane either. How do you find the sacred in the ordinary?

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Joeie August 30, 2010, 12:19 pm

    Hey Lon,
    Great post, as always!

    And what a difficult challenge for an Asian Canadian like myself who has grown up, counting the many ways I can contribute to the world because of all the piano lessons, math classes, sport teams, worship bands, Sunday school classes, missions trips, _____, and _____ that I have been involved with. Is it naive idealism for someone young like myself to believe that I’m going to “grow up” and “do something big” for God? Where does this mentality come from?

    Anyways, reminded me of a great entry from Oswald Chambers in The Utmost for His Highest:
    “It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God: but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes”.

    Just wanted to toss that into the mix. 🙂

    • Joeie August 30, 2010, 12:20 pm

      … and I’m going to think more about this!

      • Lon September 1, 2010, 12:28 pm

        Great thoughts and questions Joeie! Believe me I’ve got plenty of the same mentality too… but maybe it’s both… striving hard and being at peace in the real small things. How you do both at the same time, i have no clue…

        • Joe--ie September 8, 2010, 1:48 am

          Mmh. Thought more about this.

          I’m definitely over-generalizing, but I think there is always an inherent desire in mankind to want to be recognized. We can see that in the way we use social media nowadays – twitter, blogs, facebook etc give us voices, but who is really listening? What is the most interesting topic of conversation for 20-30 year olds? –> relationships and finding a companion. Desiring someone to recognize the “uniqueness” of who you are etc etc.

          Anyways, we all want to be special (to a certain degree), and I think that’s what makes finding the sacred in the ordinary difficult. Or even, that’s what makes investing into *anything* difficult. Because there is always going to be mundane work that needs to be done, and nobody recognizes it and nobody’s going to pat you on the back for it. Example – if you join some sort of charity cause, there’s always gonna be paperwork that needs to be done; there’s not always going to be the charity run where you cross the finish line with arms raised high.

          The only solution that I can see is to truly put your mouth where your heart/mind is – those who are genuinely invested in the cause (in re: to charity example), or those who genuinely seek and will be satisfied with hints of God throughout the mundane-ness/normal-ness of their lives (re: Matt 7:14). Because the reward won’t be found in the approval of others, but in the actual act itself.

          Haha, sorry for long post.

  • Lon September 15, 2010, 5:55 pm

    good thoughts as always Joeie! I think like anything it takes practice to see god in the ordinary – we’re inundated with a completely different worldview in our culture, and it’s not as easy as flipping a switch or just trying every now and then…

  • Daily Spiritual Tools September 15, 2010, 10:36 pm

    I really loved your post. It’s so funny to read what others are blogging about and to come across thoughts that are so similar to mine. When we take the time to enjoy those moments in between; that is when we see God most clearly. I just wrote a post called “Being Ordinary” and would love your feedback. Blessings, Sherry

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