What comes to mind when you think of the original apostles. We sometimes get a picture of some bearded men sitting in robes. They all look quite similar in our minds don't they? Did they all look alike? Do We? I have come to the point where now I see that they were more like us than we think. What are their names? Simon/Peter, Andrew, James, John, Phillip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddeus, Simon, and Judas. Or was it: Pete, Drew, Jay, John, Phil, Bart, Tommy, Matt, Jimmy, T., Sy, and Jude?
Men ordinary, extraordinary men. From all walks of life. Different educations and skills. Different backgrounds and families. Why these men, Lord, what set them apart? Were they that different? Yes and no. Yes they had hearts to receive the commission set before them but, if Jesus told you to do something you'd do it, wouldn't you? He said come follow me. He didn't say: will you. These mighty men of God were more ordinary than you would think.
Acts 4:13 says that people wondered at John and Peter because they were unlearned. In Mt. 11:25, speaking of his disciples, Jesus thanked God that he had given knowledge to babes.
Men who failed in their attempts to follow, Mt. 17:19 says they were unable to cast out a demon.
Men who failed in their promises. In Mt. 16:22-23 Peter begins to rebuke the Lord, and quickly gets put in his place.
Men who lost hope. Luke 22:54-61 tells of Simon "the Rock" Peter's denial of the Lord. Mark 14:50 says, "They all forsook him, and fled"
Men who just didn't get it. In John 16:17 they just flat out didn't understand what He was talking about.
Men who succeeded in following Jesus; Acts 2:41, 3000 people accepted the Lord as Peter spoke on Pentecost.
Men who preached the good news. Acts 5:42 states the disciples never ceased to preach the gospel. No matter where they were, the temple, peoples homes or just walking the road. These men preached.
Men who worked miracles in Jesus name. Read Acts, read the gospels, Jesus sends them out. All sorts of amazing things happen.
Ordinary, Extraordinary men. Men who accept that they will have weakness, but in their weakness he is stronger. He will use the weak to lead the strong.
How do we do it? How do we become extraordinary? By accepting that we are ordinary. And even in our puny, mundane state He, the creator, Alpha & Omega, God-Spirit-Man, loves us. He wants relationship with the ordinary. We won't be anything more than ordinary until our bodies are glorified and we live in his presence forever. But, if we live daily with the extraordinary, we WILL reflect some of who he is.
Our extraordinariness is simply a reflection of the magnificence of the Eternal. He allows us to reflect him to a dark and hopeless world.
So do we? Do we know him that well? Moses had to continually return to the holy of holies to keep the glory of the Lord. Did he cover his face to keep the people from seeing the glory or to keep them from seeing it fade? Ordinary, extraordinary. Do we let the people see it fade? Do we let them see our ordinary so that they want the extraordinary? That's what it's all about. Increasing the kingdom. Preaching the good news everywhere we go.
It's in our level of commitment. Westcott said: "A Saint is not a man without faults, but a man who has given himself without reserve to God." That's where the ordinary starts to change. That's when extraordinary takes hold. In our commitments, our commitments to read the word, pray, pray in the spirit, seek his will and follow it even when it doesn't match what we think should happen. There isn't any reason to explain further. We've all heard our share of sermons on each of these subjects. About how important each is and we all know it. We know.
We all know. Do we do it? Do we do everything we've heard? The simple answer is no. That's why we will always be ordinary. Can he do it? The simple answer is yes, he did. That's why he will always be extraordinary. This isn't a message meant to get us down. Jesus want us to have a positive self-image. Do we see our own worth? Actually it would seem He want us to have a positve Him-image. Do we see his worth, in us? His worth in us is far greater than we could imagine. Not that were worthless on our own, we have quite a value, because our value comes because He values us.
Look at what Paul thinks:
1 Timothy. Chapter 1.
15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.(KJV)
Paul knew. Paul knew his ordinariness. Paul knew God's extraordinariness. And he knew what to do with both.
Which leaves us with two questions:
1. Do we know? And
2. What are we, as God's people, going to do with that knowledge?
The Ordinary, Extraordinary Man
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