In a celebrity and social media dominated culture we expect to do something big and to do it now. As Christians we are not immune from this impulse and expectation. In fact, the Christian celebrity culture may breed it even deeper than the secular culture. This notion persists in us that in order to be meaningful Christians we have to do something big for God. We think we have to accomplish a great feat or become a person of massive influence for us to be faithful, to make a difference, to be who God wants us to be. In reading biographies of men and women who were massively influential and in hearing and seeing celebrity pastors and musicians or whoever it may be we think we must do what they do to make a real difference for God in our world. The power of ordinary faithfulness and the power of our everyday obedience is lost. God has placed us in the lives we have with the routines we have for His glory. There is no grand way for us to earn God’s approval, in Christ we are approved and therefore freed to live our daily lives in a faithful, meaningful way.
This desire may be magnified for those in ministry. We all want to be the next big thing. Ministers come out of seminary or Bible College thinking they will plant the next great mega-church. In order to be “successful” we must have a big platform. The lie of the culture has infiltrated the church. Faithfulness is our calling. Stability breeds faithfulness and stability is found in the ordinary. We need to recover the practice of stability in our Christian lives. It seems we are always looking for the next great thing, the next mountain peak, the next experience and in living this way we miss the ordinary grace and power of God. Our eyes are focused on the coming horizon and not the faithfulness of God we are experiencing in this moment. This is true in ministry. God needs men and women who are willing to plant their lives in small churches and small communities and be faithful. When we do this we are not missing out, we are prospering. Not everyone is given a cultural platform or a mega church. Most pastors are called to be faithful and exert influence where they have been planted and to commit to stability in that context. You are not called to be John Piper or Matt Chandler or whoever else you listen to and read. You are called to be you where you are planted, to be faithful, and practice stability in your church and community. You are called to preach the word, to love the people, to fulfill your calling where God places you. The ordinary is powerful in pastoral ministry. The ordinary is powerful only when the ordinary is done faithfully.
This deception is not just one pastors fall for, we are all prone to believe these lies. Many people think they are failing God because they have failed to do something big for God. They don’t sell out stadiums to thousands like Billy Graham did. They don’t take care of the poor like Mother Teresa did. They haven’t run for office. They don’t even preach or lead a Bible study. They feel as if they are a failure in their Christian life and this can lead either to shame and regret or to anger towards those they feel are acting like super Christians or those they feel aren’t serious enough. We must be reminded over and over again that God’s love for us does not depend on how much we do or don’t do for Him. God doesn’t love Billy Graham or Mother Teresa more than you. You are loved and accepted in Christ as much as anyone else. This truth frees us to be us. It frees us to be faithful in whatever job we have and in whatever place we live. Ordinary faithfulness is the calling of every believer. This ordinary faithfulness will lead us to love God and love our neighbor, to pursue justice, to seek the common good, to love our enemies, and ultimately to live lives that matter because they seek the treasure that moth and rust cannot destroy. Don’t believe the lie you have to do big things to please God. Rest in His grace and love for you in Jesus and be faithful everyday to His word and His Spirit and you will do things that matter eternally. Ordinary faithfulness is powerful because it comes out of a heart resting in God’s grace and a heart loving God and neighbor in the place where it has been planted.
There is beauty in the ordinary faithfulness of God’s people loving God and their neighbors at their jobs, in their homes, schools, and churches. Let go of trying to be famous or doing big things for God. Love God. Love people. Be faithful where God has planted you and you will be storing treasure in heaven, you will be living for what truly matters.