ordinary things.

i was reading an article by shane claiborne in the latest issue of a particular magazine and i found it to be very encouraging as well as challenging. there’s a particular quote i want to highlight that resounded so loudly with myself:

while the temptation to do great things is always before us, i learned the discipline of doing ordinary things with great deliberation. mother teresa used to say, ‘we can do no great things, just small things with great love. it is not how much you do, but how much love you put into doing it.’

we live in a society where everyone is fighting to get to the top. people want to get a good education so they can get a good job and make the most money possible for doing the least amount of work possible all so we can purchase the things we want and do the things we want. in essence, we’re all just building our own kingdom. and we see this all the time.

then Jesus comes with a message that sounds like this: die to yourself, pick up your cross, leave everything, follow me, love your enemy, turn the other cheek, heal the sick, care for the orphan and the widow.

our lives as we know them, need to drastically change in order to follow Christ, for we cannot follow him and build our own kingdom. this temptation, to build our own kingdom, is always there lurking in the background. as a pastor i feel this pressure. there is pressure to have a large youth group (often health and growth is measured numerically, at least in the tribe i am currently affiliated with). the pressure to do things that will get you noticed or get you credit (i once heard someone comment on how much we could accomplish as the bride of Christ if no one cared who got the credit). the pressure to be known. i find this to be the greatest pressure, to be known. to be known as someone who is doing something great for the kingdom. i mean, don’t get me wrong, we all ought to strive to do great things for the kingdom. the problem is, we often think that doing great things for the kingdom will get us fame and accolades (there are no shortage of Christian celebrities, you see). this is the challenge for us today. the challenge is to do great things for the kingdom and to be known as one who does great things for the kingdom without actually desiring to be known as such. at least it has been so for me.

so as i read shane talk about mother teresa i was refuted in my thinking. a stronghold was torn down. i am free. for there shall always be the temptation to do great things. but it is the discipline of doing ordinary things with great love that i so desperately need to have impressed upon my heart. may we see as God sees and hear as he hears. may we seek out those who are low and downtrodden. may we take those ordinary, seemingly mundane things, and do them with great love.

peace.

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