Ordinary You, Extraordinary God

   Written by on October 26, 2015 at 7:58 am

Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah (1 Samuel 16:13, ESV).

Our culture disrespects the ordinary. If it’s not special, superior, showy, or shocking, then it doesn’t matter.

Is that what God really wants for our lives? Does God want us to exert ourselves for a flash of fame? Is there anything wrong with being an ordinary person living a faithful life?

logo-macdonald-jamesKing David was painfully ordinary. How many miracles did he do? Zero. The showdown against Goliath happened when he was delivering his brothers’ lunch. If there was anything noteworthy in his life, it wasn’t David; it was God.

For much of David’s life, he did the grind. Even after he was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next king, he wasn’t immediate royalty. No, he waited for ten more years—a decade of suffering and preparation to be the man after God’s own heart. Ten years of obscurity and monotony, camping solo on the hillside, watching the sheep. Yet during that season of preparation, David got really good with a slingshot, and he wrote songs for God. Little did he know he’d face a giant and write much of the book of Psalms. He just plodded faithfully along where God had placed him.

So much of the pain and heartache of life come from trying to prove we’re something more. We’re not. We’re just ordinary. There’s such release and relaxation in this. We don’t have to feel badly because we don’t look special or have a unique talent, an exciting job, or a dramatic story. God is very happy for us to be ordinary, to faithfully live our regular, obscure lives.

Here’s what ordinary life looks like: the monotonous grind of diapers, cooking, cleaning, laundry, bills, and a job you may or may not like. Whether or not your sacrifices are acknowledged or appreciated by others, God sees your faithfulness. God knows, and He’s keeping track. You need to persevere and be faithful. Wherever God has placed you, live that ordinary life faithfully for God.

Because if we go back to David’s story, we see what’s extraordinary about him: God in him. The moment that Samuel anointed David with oil, “the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward.” If there’s anything exceptional about David’s life, it’s God at work in him.

We see this consistently through the Bible. Why did Pharaoh appoint Joseph, a foreign criminal, as his number two official over all of Egypt? “And Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God’” (Genesis 41:38)?

How did lowly Gideon lead a mighty military rout, though massively outnumbered?“But the Spirit of the LORD clothed Gideon” (Judges 6:34).

Any success in Samson’s entire life story is defined by this phrase: “And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him” (Judges 14:19).

What transformed the disciples from cowardly into courageous? Jesus told them to go to the upper room and wait for the Holy Spirit—do not pass GO, do not collect $200, don’t do anything till you get the Spirit. They didn’t get to do a neighborhood survey or even work on their brochures. They got in a room and waited for “power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

How liberating for us to realize that we’re ordinary and that the extraordinary thing is always, always, always God.

Reprinted with permission from Our Journey, copyright 2015 by James MacDonald. All rights reserved. Further distribution is prohibited without written permission from Walk in the Word. James is the Founding and Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadow, IL and the Bible teacher of the Walk in the Word radio program.

About James McDonald

James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is married to his high school sweetheart, Kathy, and both are from Ontario, Canada. He is the father of three grown children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, and grandfather to five amazing grandsons. James has committed his life and ministry to the unapologetic proclamation of God’s Word. In 1988, along with a small group of ministry partners, James and Kathy planted Harvest Bible Chapel (HarvestBibleChapel.org) which now has 13,000 people meeting at seven locations across Chicagoland each weekend. Walk in the Word, a Bible-teaching television and radio broadcast ministry (WalkintheWord.org), was established in 1997. The radio program reaches more than three million people daily, and the television audience extends around the world. In 2002, through James’s leadership and by God’s grace, the church-planting ministry Harvest Bible Fellowship (HarvestBibleFellowship.org) was founded and has established more than 100 churches across North America and around the world. James’ vision is for God to use Harvest Bible Fellowship to plant 1,000 churches by 2020. James’ extensive ministry also includes a training center for pastors, a year-round camp, a center for biblical counseling, a disaster-recovery organization, and a Christian school—all used to reach more people with the life-changing message of the Gospel. James is the author of several books including Vertical Church, Authentic, Lord Change My Attitude, When Life is Hard, Always True, and most recently, Come Home.

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