by Kyle Worley
Growing up in America, children consistently hear that they can “be anything they want to be.” This promise is usually accompanied by thoughts of grandeur and extraordinary success. Our ambitions and hopes are educated on the premise that to settle for the ordinary, which is often equated with what is boring and indicative of a past and inferior time, is beneath us. This hope of becoming something extraordinary trickles down from the rafters of our dreams, where we dwelt as children, into the basement of our hearts, where adults go to think about what could have been and prepare a path to projecting their fallen dreams onto their “fallen” children.
1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” We need to celebrate the ordinary. Not “ordinary,” as in, the less than, the least desirable, or the bare minimum; these are perversions that you have believed regarding ordinary. No we need to rescue the “ordinary,” meaning the God ordained, created order, way things should be.
Eating. Drinking. Whatever we do, it is to be done, to the glory of God. In a culture where the ordinary is despised and the extraordinary is packaged and sold, we need more men and women committed to being faithful to honoring God in the average, daily, ordinary aspects of life.
Rather than pursuing and praising only the extraordinary, we must remember that the ordinary is God ordained and God glorifying. For example:
1. We need men committed to being husbands.
Recently, General David Petraeus, was discovered to have been involved in an affair. Steve Boylan, a former Petraeus spokesperson, said that Petraeus “is aware of the impact this has had on his family, and he knows what a wonderful family he has. On a personal level, he sees this as a failure, and this is a man who has never failed at anything.”
Today, you can still be considered an extraordinary success story if you persistently place your family on the altar of self-exaltation and self-gratification. You can run for President, you can be on the cover of magazines, and you can be adored by millions, while simultaneously spitting in the face of those entrusted to your care.
It is no secret that marriage, the coming together of one man and one woman till death or the Lord’s return, has come to be viewed with disdain in our culture. An institution that God ordained as a picture of His love for His people has been left at the altar. A culture of divorce, adultery, and sexual immorality of all kinds ran into the bride on her way to the chapel, pummeled and stripped her of her dress, and then brought her before a watching world to claim she was never beautiful to begin with.
In this current day, we need men committed to being ordinary husbands. Men committed to “loving their wives, as Christ loved the church” (Eph. 4:25). It seems to me that if the calling of a husband is compared with the person and work of Christ, than it is worth throwing yourself headlong into.
Men must realize that if they fail at leading their home, even in the face of unparalleled success in other areas, than they fail entirely.
2. We need women committed to being wives.
We told women they could be and do anything, but then immediately stripped them of the high honor of being wives and mothers. Lies were whispered into the ears of a generation of women, which led them to believe that those who remained at home had merely settled for less than they were created to be. If I may revise what John Piper has often said, “It’s not that our dreams are too high, but that they are too low.”
We took daughters of the King and told them to go out and prove their worth in the eyes of the world. We then proceeded to sell them their worth and now every year men affirm what they believe to be the value of these “liberated” woman by paying billions of dollars to watch them be objectified and dehumanized on camera. The lie of the extraordinary is the great egalitarian, showing no preference to genders, and destroying the distinctiveness of both.
Instead of selling herself for value in the eyes of a world persistent on devaluing her, we need women committed to being wives. God knows the true value of a woman. Take the words of Proverbs 31 and write them out on a piece of paper and place them beside the words of any of the current top 40 hits. Who sounds like they value women more?
“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” (Prov. 31:1,26, 28-29)
3. We need moms and dads committed to being parents.
It wasn’t good for man to be alone. So God created a helpmate. The home, the most basic building block of society, exists to be managed by a mother and a father. It appears that God, being the source and standard of what we refer to as “common sense,” ordained that if took two people to create a person, it would take two people to effectively raise that person. But of course, with a little cultural smoke and the deceptiveness of sin near to our hearts, we had to take parenthood and mock it as patriarchal and worn out.
I had a mom and dad. They were both fairly ordinary. They were your average loving parents who worked hard to raise me in the fear of the Lord, disciplined me, taught me the value of hard work, and pointed me towards truth, goodness, and beauty. Parents who abdicate their role as parents so they can play out their teenage years again, are not normal, they are aberrations of what God intended. Moms and dads who use their children to live out their failed fantasies and dreams are not ordinary, they are perversions that have swallowed the lie that their role as parents must be compensated for by seeing something greater emerge in the life of their children.
I praise God that my parents were ordinary, by God’s standard. Give me a church full of men and women who are living out the ordinary aspects of life under the Lordship of Christ for the glory of God, rather than, a church full of men and women who view the ordinary roles of husband, wife, and parent as something to be overcome.
The Apostle Paul knew the Church was the gathering of the ordinary. He says,
27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:27-31)
Will you join me in celebrating the ordinary? I hope so.
Kyle Worley is a Student Pastor at First Baptist Church of Groves, TX. He is the author of Pitfalls: Along the Path to Young and Reformed and blogs regularly at The Strife. He holds a double B.A. in Biblical Studies and Philosophy from Dallas Baptist University. He is currently completing a M.A. in Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is pursuing a M.A. in Religion at Redeemer Seminary. You can find Kyle on Twitter @kyleworley.
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