” ‘Ordinary’ has to be one of the loneliest word in our vocabulary today…. We have to live up to our Facebook profile. It’s one of the newer version of salvation by works.” – Michael Horton, Ordinary, page 11.
This quote appears in the third full paragraph of Michael Horton’s incredible book Ordinary: Sustainable faith in a radical, restless world. It’s the first time (of many) that I cried while reading this book: someone understands.
In the evangelical church today, ambition is THE mark of how great your salvation is. Your dreams are THE measure of how much “God” you have in your life. If you aren’t dreaming BIG ENOUGH, then obviously you aren’t listening to God, you don’t trust God, you don’t really have the Holy Spirit. If you are content with your little, ordinary life, well, then, something must be wrong with you.
(in fact, those very sentiments, being preached, spoken and unspoken, from the pulpit, are why we left our former church)
Did you know that in the Bible, ambition is a sin and contentment is a virtue? (read chapter 5)
Did you know that the Bible calls us to contentment? (read chapter 7)
Horton begins his book with a look at the modern church and how the youth group movement of the 70s – 90s has negatively impacted it. He then moves into examining what the Bible says about ambition versus contentment, noting specifically that Christ calls us to ordinary, every day lives (not to be “super-apostles” or heroes of the faith, but to be the kind of Christians who work hard to be good employees, faithful spouses, devoted parents, and kind neighbors). He finishes with a strong encouragement to do just that: be a good neighbor, not someone dreaming her life away, looking for the next big thing in Christianity.
If you are at all struggling with the modern church and its widespread false teaching that you need to be/do/hear MORE “from God”, read this book. It will return you to your roots that Christ and His Word are enough. There aren’t secret messages, super Christians, or special goals you have to hit. Be ordinary. That’s what you’re called to be.
Horton, Michael. Ordinary: Sustainable faith in a radical, restless world. MI: Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2014.