It is quite remarkable that one can purchase a cast iron frying pan for a little over $20. Think about all that goes into making the pan, the labor, the materials, the transportation. There are a lot of moving parts that have to come together in order for a person to walk out of their local store with a pan for just over $20. It is quite remarkable and yet, quite ordinary.
It’s easy to forget the remarkable in the ordinary.
Think about somebody surrendering his or her life to Jesus. We love the stories that remind us of the famous parable Jesus told of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). The drug addict that leaves their addiction for a call to ministry. The gang member who exchanges his gang family to be part of the household of God. Those kinds of stories are powerful. They demonstrate the grace of Jesus in way that is palatable.
Contrary to the dramatic stories that are often leveraged on a stage in front of a crowd, it seems that most people surrender their lives to Jesus in a more subtle way. It is the son who was discipled by his father. It is the grandmother who has seen her children’s hearts soften. It is the business man who sees the integrity of his partner. It is all quite ordinary. However, I wonder if it seems ordinary in the same way we see a cast iron skillet cost a little over $20 at the local store. We simply don’t recognize all that is going on when someone surrenders their life to Jesus.
When someone surrenders his or her life to Jesus they move from death to life.
Their sin has been forgiven. They have been given a new name and have been adopted into a family. The have been made part of the household of God, the priesthood of believers. There is so much to be said about what happens when someone makes Jesus Lord of their life. Just because it doesn’t seem significant from our point of view, doesn’t mean that it’s not significant from heaven’s vantage point.
If you have surrendered your life to Jesus, there is something going on in your heart that is significant, there is something deep and powerful. It might not feel like it at times, but it is there. It is the Holy Spirit, moving, teaching, guiding.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6, ESV)
“he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:5–7, ESV)
“How much more” is a rabbinic argument made from the lessor to the greater. If God cares about these little things, how much more will he care for things that are greater. A quick glance of scripture shows a glimpse of the power of God that is at work in your life, whether you feel like it is there or not:
God gives good gifts, he is not out to get you.
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”” (Luke 11:13, ESV)
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11, ESV)
Jesus identifies with you in suffering, your suffering is not wasted.
“It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.” (Matthew 10:25, ESV)
Jesus seeks you out, you will not be forgotten.
“He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other.” (Matthew 12:11–13, ESV)
Jesus takes care of his people, there is no need to be anxious.
“Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” (Luke 12:24, ESV)
“But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!” (Luke 12:28, ESV)
Jesus’ kingdom is for everyone, you are part of his family.
“Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!” (Romans 11:12, ESV)
Jesus forgives, you can come back home.
“For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.” (Romans 11:24, ESV)
Jesus establishes his family, we are bound together.
“Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!” (1 Corinthians 6:3, ESV)
“For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.” (Philemon 15–16, ESV)
Jesus forgives, you can have a clear conscience.
“For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” (Hebrews 9:13–14, ESV)
Yes, it’s easy to forget the remarkable in the ordinary. What would happen if we saw the remarkable in the ordinary? What would happen if you saw all that Jesus is doing in your life, just underneath the surface?
I hope you never forget the power of God working in your life. He is working whether you recognize it or not.
Thank you for this message many of your followers may not know you get to meet so many people.
I have met Mike and I have been blessed with the gift of a disability. Yes I didn’t studder I have been blessed.
So many people that met me tell me how remarkable I am. I respond with I am not remarkable Jesus is. To me Jesus gives us an assignment I look at my disability here on earth as that assignment. If only one person see Christ in us. Then whatever the assignment or hardship makes it all it in the end.
God bless you all.
Thanks for the kind words Eric! You are an inspiration to me and the way you handle your disability. I know that you have had difficult times for sure, but the grace of Jesus has sustained you well my friend. It shows!
Good read my friend. I do think Christians see it, though sometimes years later. I can look back at my life and see God’s hand in a lot of it though at the time I had no idea.
You are right. It’s kind of like growing physically. We don’t see it until we stand to the wall we were measured on as a kid. (As an adult we see it when we step on a scale, ha!)
Spiritual growth seems to be the same way.
Good word, Thanks Mike!