I love going to church on Sunday because I feel loved, accepted, wanted, and always challenged to continue in the faith. This Sunday we were challenged to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. My Monday’s are pretty ordinary, I get up, brush my teeth, cook my son breakfast, take him to school, come home and do the laundry, write for a while, get my son from school, cook supper, and watch some television before going to bed. Tuesday, Wednesday and the rest of the week is pretty much the same as Monday minus doing laundry and adding things like cleaning the house, watering the plants and so forth. There is nothing more ordinary than my daily life, wouldn’t you agree? I bet that your day is pretty ordinary too. So what scripture came to mind to me this morning as I sat down to think of my ordinary life? Philippians chapter four.
Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.
You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Philippians 4: 1-22, (New American Standard Bible or NASB).
Paul is writing a letter to a church group whom he worked with in helping them to grow up in the Lord. He has some advice for certain people who were not getting along very well. Hmmm! I wonder what the story of these two is! Can’t wait to meet them in heaven and find out. I know, I am nosy. I imagine some of you Mom’s out there can identify with the ordinariness of working to get your children to live in harmony. I love finding out that even though there may be some problems within the relationships of Christians that their name is still in the book of life! So encouraging, don’t you think?
Paul then goes on to remind us all to live our life filled with rejoicing. I am rejoicing as I do laundry because I can use a washing machine and a dryer to wash and dry my clothes. Such a wonderful convenience rather than washing them by hand at the river like washing was done in Paul’s era. He also reminds us to not worry about our daily needs but to pray for them because God wants to bless us with what we need; we just need to ask Him. I love that, don’t you? He also reminds us that we are filled with God’s peace which guards our hearts which is where discontentment begins. Paul was a very contented person even though he didn’t have an easy life. His example sure helps me to be contented in my ordinary daily life. He lists a wonderful thought process that will help us to remain contented and opens us up to have an extraordinary experience in the midst of our ordinary life simply by following his list of things to think about. I am reminded as I review the list that the world today needs the simple truth, the honorable things, and the pure and lovely. There are so many ways to take a moment to clear our thoughts and watch the snow fall or take in the smells of a rosebush, or watch the sun or moon rise. Such peace and tranquility comes from such a simple act. I love that!
My life verse comes from this passage; I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Paul could say this because he had contentment in whatever situation he found himself. He didn’t compare his circumstances with others which is where discontentment often begins. No, he states clearly in this passage that he has learned to be content in whatever situation he finds himself, whether he has enough food, clothes, friends, etc. or whether he is alone, cold, and hungry. I have tried to learn to be content as well, and I must admit that it has not always been something I am successful in achieving. But after I memorized my life verse I really have relied on this to get through some pretty tough times. Maybe it will help you as well.
The final part of this passage is a reminder to many of us the need to support our local church who supports so many wonderful mission projects. We can also directly support missionaries that we may know personally as well. Paul needed help financially from time to time and yet he often worked to pay his own way (Acts 18:3, Acts 20:33-35, 1 Corinthians 9:1-18). In this instance, however, he agreed to accept the financial help from the church. How gracious he is in accepting this love offering. I love how he offers thanks to God for this gift.
Ordinary days are what most of us fill out time on earth with. Few of us are doing extraordinary jobs; few of us are in the lime-light of life. Most of us are doing laundry, grocery shopping, taking kids to and from school, working a typical job, taking care of our families, cleaning our homes and being content where God has placed us. Are you seeing the extraordinary in life? Are you taking the time to see the extraordinary? Do you see the extraordinary in your children? Do you see the extraordinary in your place of employment? If not, then open your heart and your eyes to all that God is doing around you.