In sermon after sermon I’ve been told that I need to be like Abraham, Moses, king David and the apostle Paul.  In other words, extra-ordinary.  After hearing these sermons I initially feel encouraged and challenged to do great things for God.  But then I feel discouraged, inadequate and guilty because I don’t do great things for God.  I am not an Abraham, Moses, David or Paul.  I’m just an ordinary kinda Christian who likes to garden.  I’m just an average guy who likes to teach and write a little bit on the side.  I’m just a regular man who loves his wife and children and enjoys God and His good gifts.  Nothing real special in all that.  Nothing radical or extra-ordinary.  Just an ordinary guy trying to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.  Just a follower of Christ who wants to love my neighbor as myself and do unto others as I would like them to do unto me.

I’m OK with that.  More importantly, God is OK with that.  Nowhere in the Bible does God tell us to be like Abraham, Moses, David or Paul, or any one else for that matter, except Christ.  We are to imitate Christ in humility and love.  Jesus never says, “Be like me.”  He does say, “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15), and “If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that your joy may be complete.  My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:10-12).  Our joy is not complete if we try to be more like Abraham.  We are not happier if we try to be more like David.  We do not live contented lives by trying to imitate David.  WE ENJOY GOD more when we are being the person that He created us to be.  Love is the keyword to being that person.  Jesus said the  two greatest commandments are  “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength; and Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37,38).  What does that kind of  love look like?  In  the sermon on the mount, Jesus told the crowd, “Treat others as you want to be treated” (Matthew 7:12).

I thank God for people who do do great things for God.  Who are so full of love for  God and their fellow man, that they

Jill with her children, Salina and Nathan

Jill with her children, Salina and Nathan

accomplish incredible things in the name of Jesus.  They create opportunities for average, ordinary Christians like me to use my God given gifts to enjoy and glorify God and make a difference in other ordinary peoples lives.  Two names come to mind.  One is Bill Hybels.  Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, one of the  largest churches in the United States.  Maybe you have heard of him.  Most of you have probably not heard of Jill Adams.  Jill Adams was a member of Willow Creek and also worked on staff there for awhile.  The ministry of Bill Hybels and Willow Creek Church touched her life in a significant way.  Now she is one of the leaders here at the Home For Needy Children in Oaxaca, Mexico.  She has also adopted two Mexican children.  She is just an ordinary lady who loves God and loves others.  Bill Hybels greatness opened spiritual and physical doors for Jill to grow into the person God created her to be.

Another person who has done, and continues to do great things for God, is Charla Pereau, founder of Foundation For His Ministry which operates four Homes For Needy Children in Mexico and touches thousands of lives every year with its outreach programs to the poorest of the poor.  Because she has faithfully followed God, she has become the kind of person God created her to be, a person who does great things for God.  And that opens doors for people like me to be the ordinary kinda Christian God created me to be, doing gardening, teaching English, and helping children.  It opens doors for people like Fabian and Carmen.  He is a Mexican.  She is a North American.They met at FFHM’s children home in Baja, Mexico, got married, and are now leaders here at the Oaxaca mission.  Fabian is the administrator and Carmen works in the elementary school here. They too, have adopted a poor, Mexican baby.   Because of the great faith of Charla, Fabian and Carmen are able to use their gifts to better the lives of the poor, oppressed and downcast here in Mexico.

That’s God’s general plan.  He calls Abraham who becomes a  great man, a patriarch of the faith, who had millions of ordinary descendants who  carried on the faith.  God calls Moses, who becomes a great leader of the Hebrews and leads them out of Egyptian bondage.  Millions of ordinary people are set free to learn about and worship the One, True God.  God calls David, an ordinary shepherd, and makes him an extraordinary King, who turns ordinary people into  ordinary soldiers who do ordinary things that make  a great kingdom.  God calls Paul, an extraordinary sinner, and transforms him into a  great apostle, who started lots of churches, made up of ordinary people who learned about a God who loved them and wanted them to be happy, and then began loving their neighbors and making them happy.   He wrote half the New Testament and his God inspired ,great writing, has changed ordinary peoples lives for almost 2,000 years.

With God, Ordinary is the Norm;  Greatness is Abnormal.  As Christians we rejoice in both.  We rejoice that when we open our hearts and lives to God’s will, we become the  kind of person that He created us to be.  We rejoice in greatness and we should also rejoice in the ordinary.

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Only God knows your full potential, and he is guiding you toward that best version of yourself all the time.  He has  many tools and is never  in a hurry.  That can be frustrating for us, but even in our frustration, God is at work to produce patience in us.  He never gets discouraged by how long it takes, and he delights every time you grow.  Only God can see the “best version of you,” and he is more concerned with you reaching your full potential than you are.  John Ortberg in The Me I Want To Be