...running the course God sets before us, no matter the cost, no matter the task, to the end, for His glory

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Ordinary Disciple

I love Oswald Chambers.

I love "My Upmost For His Highest".

It is the book that has taught me more about mothering and about following Jesus than any book, other than the Bible.

He is just so unafraid of being truthful.

Maybe that is because his words were never written to the general public. His writings were from his teachings or his journals. After his early death, when he was only 42, his wife compiled his most recent journal entries and his seminary teachings into daily readings.  And she had to use his most recent because he had burned his earlier journals!

Today, October 21, I read the entry as I do most days.  There are so often passages that stick out- but this one had flashing lights and sirens!
"We do not need the grace of God to stand crises, human nature and pride are sufficient, we can face the strain magnificently; but it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours in every day as a saint, to go through drudgery as a disciple, to live an ordinary, unobserved, ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus." 
The problem with the "ordinary, unobserved, ignored existence" is that no one sees us or realizes just how many sacrifices we are making, or how much of our selves are dying, or how "graciously" we are handling our disappointments.

I mean, where is the fun in that?

What is the point of suffering, if you aren't going to get any credit for it? Maybe that is why we sigh. So we can draw attention to our overwork without actually saying anything?

It is like, when dessert is being passed around and you smile and say, "Oh, no thank you. I am on a diet."  And then you companions compliment your self-discipline and say how great you are doing. It almost makes the self denial worth it!

But for no one to know? For no one to be impressed with our sacrifice?

It would mean that that I could be a disciple of the Living God of the universe while going through:

  • the drudgery of housework that though unseen makes a house into a home
  • the ordinary chores of daily life that are necessary but unpleasant
  • the unobserved sacrifices to enable others needs to be met
  • the ignored moments of death to self that transform an argument into a moment of peace or a disagreement into an experience of grace.
Most of the work of the ordinary disciple is unnoticed, unless it is not done. If we do not live the life of the unobserved and ordinary than literally, all hell will break loose. Literally.

But, if we are living the life of the unobserved appropriator of the Grace of God it will effect everyone we live with, but here is the catch. They may not even realize why and they may not even realize who- which means we will get NO credit.

Oswald goes on to say:

"It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God; but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes."
He is right: to be exceptional in ordinary things does not take five minutes. It only takes a moment. The moment we are wronged, the moment we are ignored, the moment we are "dumped" on: in that moment we have the choice.

The choice to be the ordinary, ignored disciple. And appropriate the Grace of God. And see death out of life. And see peace and joy and love enter the room.

And then we get to do it again. The next moment, and the next moment, and the next......

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