November 16, 2016

The Glory of Ordinary Life

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:31–33)

While these verses are referring to whether or not the Christians at Corinth should eat food offered to idols, Chambers says, “It is one thing to go through a crisis grandly, but another thing to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, no one paying the remotest attention to us.” He is talking about the mere actions of daily life — eating and drinking.

Chambers’ words lift this out of context, but they do strike at the hidden ambitions of the heart. Much of what I’ve supposed is pious devotion is really a desire to exalt me in the kingdom of God. I’ve not wanted to be unnoticed. I’ve not wanted to be ordinary. I’ve always liked those comments about being unique, one-of-a-kind. I’ve liked those times when people praised me, but God teaches me a different way.

He uses others in the classroom — one person I praised for her abilities responded with this:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)

She humbled me. I realized that would be the way I should respond to praise, but could I say it and mean it? Another friend said that sometimes a person has to pretend their way into reality, acting as if something is true until it becomes true. This sounded to me like psycho-babble, but when the thing really is true, I am not acting. I am merely uncomfortable saying it — at least at first.

After saying truth a few times, it begins to dig out the false idea that I am something when I am not. In a short while, saying what is true — God is the source of all good gifts — those words soon resound with glory to God and a sense of worship.

I suppose this is also true of eating and drinking to the glory of God. He has impressed upon me that my body belongs to Him and whatever I put into it needs His unction. That is, if He tells me to eat a salad, then I eat it — rather than that appealing chocolate layer cake. Like saying words of praise, at first this is not easy or comfortable, particularly when comfort food is what I crave. However, after a while it becomes a glory — not for me but for Him. (And the salads become more appealing!)

Chambers says that the marvel of the Incarnation slips into ordinary life meaning it is easy to get into life and not focus on the marvel. That is one reason to have daily devotions, to pray often, to go to church, to worship, to sing hymns. These activities focus my heart on the marvel of God and the marvel of the Incarnation. Jesus Christ, God the Son, became a human being to revealed God, to conquer sin, to give people eternal life!

The least I can do is give Him the glory for everything He gives me, talents or abilities and even those daily salads. I can also rejoice in Him when His power is at work, or He is silent, and even when no one notices me.

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