Nothing about me in high school screamed “popular.” I mean, you only have to look at pictures of my hair and ask about my nonexistent dating history to infer that I oozed awkwardness. Still, you might be surprised to know that I (mainly) loved high school. I had awesome friends, liked my teachers, and enjoyed extracurriculars. I was okay with being ordinary then, and I’m okay with being ordinary now.
You know what I’m even more okay with? Being ordinary when it comes to my faith. Because ordinary isn’t bad. Far too often we blindly accept the definition that ordinary means less valuable, less important, less able, less talented, less <fill in the blank>.
But do you know what ordinary really means? Merriam-Webster says this: “Ordinary: of a kind to be expected in the normal order of events.”
Wait, what? So ordinary isn’t bad; it’s normal?!
If you are just learning more about Jesus and faith and Christianity, I’m sure that “normal” might sound strange. After all, it seems like the normal order of events in this world is often hard. For me personally (and I hope for all Christians), I believe in an extraordinary God, so his normal order of events is worth celebrating, even in a hard world.
Here are a few glimpses at how ordinary he is. God’s normal order of events is knitting people together exactly how he wanted them to be, with their ordinary gifts and talents. God’s normal order of events is determining when and where people live and then giving them plenty of opportunities to give their time, energy, and love to other people. God’s normal order of events is knowing that you are a goof-up and reassuring you every day that Jesus took care of all your offenses. His normal order of events is using ordinary people to talk about his extraordinary ordinariness.
As you read more about his normal order of events in the Bible, it might be tempting to think the people who got mentioned are more than ordinary. Actually, they had struggles and failures and weaknesses that might sound like yours.
A young girl was stuck in her dead-end job as a servant/slave. Yet when her master was sick, she told him where to find healing—all because of her faith. Peter was a blue-collar fisherman who became one of Jesus’ closest friends. When Jesus could have used his support the most, Peter bailed. Ruth was a foreigner and not exactly welcomed by the people in her new town; she ended up being a vital part of Jesus’ family tree. One woman wasn’t even given a name—unless you count “the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years” as a name, which I don’t. Facing the stigma of chronic illness, she still knew she needed to be near Jesus. Check out Pastor Mike’s message this week about how Moses was ordinary too.
None of these people knew that thousands of years later we’d be reading about them. They just knew that because of their extraordinary God, their names would be written in the book of life. By believing in Jesus, yours is too.
Heaven is filled with ordinary people. That is what’s extraordinary.
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who never realized that by being ordinary she was actually normal. Because she’s always thought she’s just a little bit weird.