I used to tell myself, “I’m spoiled for the ordinary. I’m going to do big things for God. I’m not going to be a nobody. I’m going to be a somebody.”
Forget this place. I’m going somewhere important.
So this small town farm boy left to make a big impact on the world. Like the prodigal son, I spit in the face of my father, mocked the success of this hard work. I might not have lived in “sin,” and I certainly didn’t fortune on prostitutes, but what I chased after could be counted as nothing less that “reckless living.”
I had bought a lie. The lie was that real faith looked more like short-term mission trips and religious stunts than picking up rocks in the field, mowing lawns, and teaching kindergarteners during Sunday school.
Those weren’t big or flashy. They didn’t get me stamps on my passport or souvenirs for my office.
Today I’m a pastor in an unknown church in an unknown community. In the past year, we’ve experienced heartbreak and scandal of people leaving our church and staff needing to be let go. We’ve offended some by suggesting to remove pews. Our giving is down. A high schooler got pregnant. Some single adults are living together. Others have blamed us for not providing a community for their family to invest and feel loved in. I preached my heart out last Sunday, but I don’t think anyone new came to faith, nor will we likely see a boost in our numbers next week.
We’re a mess.
We’re God’s mess.
I believe that in an instant he could call hundreds to faith in his name. I believe God could double our attendance.
He hasn’t done either of those things yet for purposes that are still unclear to me. Will I stay and work this soil? Will I get up every day to work to pick up these rocks that damage our community? Will I love people even if they turn their backs on our church and seek the new hotter ministry and church in the town next door?
Will I be faithful to this beautiful ordinary were God is playing the long game and not the short? Or will I run?