Too Ordinary to make a Difference?

This Advent season, we have the opportunity to reflect on this deep and incredible commitment God has made – becoming human. We’ll consider four areas where Christ’s coming creates a new paradigm for the way we live.

Our theme in week two is Ordinary. While Jesus’ coming was on one hand extraordinary (virgin birth, pronouncement from angels, etc.), he came in such an ordinary way (baby lying in a manger wrapped in swaddling cloths) and to ordinary people. The fact that God enters into our everyday lives changes us at every level and impacts how we live, learn, work, and play.

Too Ordinary to make a Difference?

The other day I toured the birthplace of one of my favorite historical figures: John Adams. Adams championed the Declaration of Independence, authored the Massachusetts Constitution, and served as the second president of the United States. After finishing that tour, I found myself thinking, “I’m too ordinary to make a difference like he did!” But I had to stop myself. I realized that John Adams was a human just like anyone else. He grew up the son of a simple Puritan farmer! Maybe ordinary people can do extraordinary things. John Adams sure did.

If you’ve ever thought the way I did, our reading from Luke 2 paints a different picture. Here God chose ordinary shepherds to share the wonderful news that God now dwelt with humanity. Why did God turn these sheep keepers into the first evangelists? Because God loves to use the ordinary to do the extraordinary.

Just look at the Old Testament. Gideon was a cowering fool, yet God used him to crush the Midianites ( Judg. 6–7). Moses was a stuttering refugee, yet God chose him to deliver His people from bondage (Exod. 3). David was a young shepherd boy, yet God made him king of Israel (1 Sam. 16). These people were ordinary, yet God used them to do the extraordinary.

But here in Luke 2, God didn’t just choose someone ordinary; He became ordinary. God took on ordinary human flesh and was born to ordinary parents in an ordinary old barn. Yet Jesus did the most extraordinary thing in the history of mankind. He died for the sins of the world so that we can commune once again with our Creator. God loves to use the ordinary; in fact, he became ordinary.

So next time you think God can’t use you, remember John Adams. Remember Gideon, Moses, and David. Remember the shepherds. Most of all, remember Jesus. He graced the ordinariness of people like you and me, so that in our ordinariness we can glorify him. If you ask me, that’s pretty extraordinary.

Devotional by Joe Holder

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