Monday, January 09, 2006

Ordinary and Extraordinary

This time of year proves quite difficult for some people. The much anticipated excitement of the holidays has passed, the decorations and gifts have been put away, and the visits by friends and family - counted on to make it really Christmas! - are over. About the only vestige of Christmas remaining is the credit card statement, and that only adds to the feeling that the good times are truly over. And now, facing the inescapable return to the ordinariness of their ordinary days, they do so sadly and reluctantly. In a strange way, these are the truly "poor" for they lack the "currency" necessary for everyday joy. They don't understand that true "wealth" is found in having an ordinary life that is, well . . . extraordinary.

If you follow my line of thinking a bit further here, the "poor" are those whose lives require the injection of some outside "excitement" in order to produce personal enjoyment. We see it everywhere. Our society is filled with people running here and there looking for any way to interrupt their lives with the entertaining, the exciting, the special, the spectacular. Unfortunately, this kind of excitement is short-lived, and all the more so as it becomes in itself another form of the ordinary! Some, pressing on and on in the search for greater doses of excitement turn to unrighteous outlets, finding it their inherent danger yet another level of life-enriching, "risky" energy. Or so they think. What they don't know is that the very thing they crave is a means of their own demise. But, such is also true at the begining, for every life that depends on external excitement for purpose and satisfaction is traveling a road to ruin. The joy of real living is not purchased from society's peddlers. True purpose and satisfaction in this world is only found when the things that fill our ordinary days are understood in all their extraordinary ways.

My ordinary life is filled with the extraordinary. First, there is my wonderful wife, who is both a friend and a teacher to my soul. My children also are God's daily gift, as are the many other authentic relationships I enjoy. My days have purpose - yes, even Mondays - because my calling begins with the understanding that the blessings God has lavished on me are not meant to be hoarded by me. I am not the end-user of all God has granted to me, and every day is another joy-filled opportunity to invest in others, helping their lives to blossom and produce fruit for still others to share. And the amazing thing is this: the satisfaction I find in obeying God's commands and call never seems to grow old. The euphoria of knowing that my life counts in the greater scheme of things brings a greater joy and satisfaction than any of the other exciting experiences I have known.

Now, please don't get me wrong. I am not advocating a total boycott of movies, good food, good wine, or golf! No, no, no, and especially no! The Apostle Paul made it clear that God has given us all good things to enjoy (you'll find that in the Bible, in 1 Timothy 6:17). But, the problem starts when we look to those enjoyments as the source of our daily well-being. The truest currency with which daily joy is bought is a genuine appreciation of what God has given to us as the basic components of our normal lives. Of course, the first is His Son - Jesus Christ the Lord. Once you come to see this Gift in all of its magnificence, you'll come as well to see that the ordinary things God has granted you to know and enjoy are actually the means of extraordinary joy in this life . . . yes, even on Mondays.

Hope this helps,

David W. Hegg


At 11:32 PM , Blogger Flower said...

Thanks for the rich posts. It seems like one can't really enjoy the blessing of life (wine, college football, and good books) unless their joy is rooted in Christ, the purpose He has saved us for, and the relationships in which He has placed us. These blessings can be enjoyed in a new way that can't be experienced by those who seek joy in them alone. One reading a novel to the glory of God can enjoy it in a greater and deeper way than one doing it for himself.

At 5:26 PM , Blogger Abby said...

Thanks, Dad. It's so easy to lose sight of the origins of true joy unless we continue to focus on Christ. What a blessing!


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