“My life is boring. Ordinary. Normal. Mundane.”
Often times, when compared to the lives of Biblical and historical heroes, our lives look to be rather insignificant. It is easy to succumb to the temptation to accept the status quo or be frustrated by the lack of impact that we perceive ourselves to be making in our day to day lives. We behold the magnificent, daring accomplishments of those that shaped the world we live in, and then proceed to ask ourselves, “Who am I to think that I can make THAT kind of difference?”
I myself have been tempted to accept that line of thought. Gone are the days of promise of college, where it seemed as if the opportunities to dream were endless and the chances to impact were innumerable, replaced by the reality of the (long before)9- (way past) 5 of the professional world. This is real life man… And the grind is not often glamorous nor exciting.
I am currently studying the book of Daniel alongside the infamous 2017 Holder of the Year Connor McGinnis (@ConnorMcG15), and I recently read an excerpt that had a profound effect on my perspective.
Daniel has his own book of the Bible. He is a legend of the faith. Daniel and the Lion’s den… Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego… Daniel was SIGNIFICANT. Daniel was IMPACTFUL. Daniel had a seventy plus year run in Babylon, which is recorded in the book of his namesake. In those SEVENTY years that Daniel served God faithfully, how many events were recorded in those pages?
Nine moments of courage, faith, and wisdom. Nine times were Daniel was called to stand up for the Lord and fulfill his purpose. For those of you that may not be math geniuses, that’s only about one event of impact every eight years.
So what did Daniel do in the margins? In the THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of “normal” days in between his incredible moments of courage and triumph? He was FAITHFUL to God on a daily basis. He lived a normal life with life’s ordinary ebbs and flows, struggles and joys, trials and accomplishments. He didn’t change the world every day, but when the moments arose for him to stand the test of faith and make his impact on eternity, he was READY. In the accumulation of ordinary moments, God prepared Daniel for the extraordinary, and this is a theme that is repeated throughout the Bible. I believe that by studying the lives of our Biblical heroes, we are able to see a testament to the faithfulness of God in how He takes ordinary, normal, boring people like you and me, and He prepares them over time to do something impactful for His Kingdom.
In the moment, we frail human beings, with our incredibly limited reach of foresight, do not typically realize when God is using the ordinary to prepare us for the extraordinary. Therefore, we cannot afford to only be faithful in the important things, because we are unable to discern which normal things right now will prove to be CRUCIAL later on.
I use David as an example. Long before David was called “a man after God’s own heart”, long before He was crowned King of Israel, and long before He killed Goliath and saved his nation, David was just a simple shepherd boy. His responsibility was to watch livestock. To watch them eat, sleep, and poop. To walk with them through pasture after pasture, over hill after rolling hill. I can’t imagine David found his assignment to be overly stimulating or significant. From what we know about David’s character from his later exploits, it’s safe to say that he was a man of passion and adventure. I personally believe David may have been frustrated with his role, which was mired in the mundane and boring. Little known to David, God was using his role as the protector of a flock of sheep to prepare him for his time as The Protector of the Flock of God’s chosen people. In his time as a shepherd, David became an expert with a slingshot. He learned how to defend his sheep, and God instilled in him a courageous and protective heart. In defense of his flock, David killed both a lion and a bear. In those individual moments, David did not perceive the eternal significance of those actions. He was simply doing the job that his earthly father had commanded him to do. He protected his sheep to the very best of his ability, for no other reason than because it was his personal responsibility. But then a moment arose when David was called off the bench, plucked from a life of the boring and ordinary and thrust into a battle for the fate of a nation. And when his number was called, he picked up his sling and his stone as he had done so many times before, and the menace of the Israelite people fell at his feet, just as the lion and the bear had. Israel was saved. The nation rejoiced. The legend of King David was born.
David himself had not intentionally prepared for that fight. This was not Mayweather v McGregor, with months upon months of training, press conferences, and advertisements leading up to a 9 pm bell. David’s training had occurred unbeknownst to him, at the hands of God. Would David have been able to defeat Goliath if he had not first defeated the lion and the bear? I do not think so. In days upon days of the ordinary, God had prepared David to be extraordinary. If David had not been the faithful protector alone in the field, he would not have been the courageous challenger with the whole world watching.
In our lifetimes, you and I are destined for moments of significance, mixed in amongst countless days of inconsequence. We do not know the number. We do not know the time. We do not know the form. But your moment is coming. It may not be to save a nation. It may not be to conquer a giant as David or to walk amongst lions as Daniel. It may be to give someone hope who has none. It may be to show someone love who regards themselves as unlovable.
Be ready for your next moment.
I encourage you to prepare to be significant by drawing near to God, by showing His love to those around you, and by being faithful in the ordinary. I will do my best to do the same.
I leave you with this:
For thirty years, Jesus Christ lived a normal life. In three years of ministry, he drastically altered the course of human history. In one moment of sacrifice, He changed our eternity.