Vol 4:28 Extraordinary Mission Tucked into Ordinary Days

I believe that God’s redemptive mission in the world is the active presence of God’s Spirit engaging people’s lives in radical transforming ways in which human lives, relationships, communities, and the world are turned right-side up. And such a radical renewing often involves ways of being God’s people in the world which are radical and transforming.

It’s easy to discover that this ought to be the norm because if you go to numerous conferences or workshops on participating with God in mission, it seems that participating with God requires us to be “edgy,” doing something radically different. Even the conferences have edgy names – Verge, TransFORM, Exponential, Emergent, and Sentralized to name a few.

In attending such conferences, one can begin to think that if one is not doing something on the edge or out there, that perhaps we are not being missional.

It seems to me however, that most of life happens tucked away in the ordinary moments of a week – people hanging out with family and friends, doing chores around the house, driving kids to school, sitting in traffic on the way to work, struggling with health issues, trying to make ends meet as you look few a job. Edgy might get us excited, but what do we do when we are caught up in the messiness of our ordinary lives. Is being edgy enough to sustain us. Is God’s mission to be found in the mundane, ordinary experiences of our lives. Can the world be transformed during the normal routines of our day – or does it require hyped up followers of Christ to make a difference?

I am reminded of Elijah encountering God. In 1 Kings 19:11f, we read: “The LORD said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.”

I wonder, is God’s active presence is mission more to be found in the whisper than in “wind, earthquake, or fire?” I pastor a congregation and I admit that much of my walking alongside the people I am called to shepherd, to guide them in attending to God, helping them recognize where God is at work in their lives and around them, so that they might participate with God in God’s mission, often seems like whispering in their presence – I wonder in what ways God is making a difference in their lives.

Yet, living out the presence of the Gospel is all about living life in the midst of ordinary days. Jesus in taking on our humanity in the incarnation – though he healed, cast out demons, most of his life and ministry dealt with the ordinary stuff of life. And so I have come to realize that maybe being edgy has its moments, but discovering God in the messiness of ordinary life is better.

Better, because it is in these times we have the opportunity to discover that God’s mission is touching and transforming lives all over the place in small, seemingly insignificant, inconsequential, unnoticeable ways. People in their ordinary lives, doing ordinary things, encountering everyday problems is in whom God is daily at work radically transforming lives.

We may not easily see the radical transformation going on – but it is! Like a mustard seed, like yeast making its way through a lump of dough, God’s presence is touching and transforming lives, relationships and bit by bit all is being made new.

We put a lot of money and energy into making the edgy happen, but I am discovering the real work of God is happening all around us – blessings amid the brokenness, hope in times of despair, joy in moments of sorrow.

It is in the here and now that God is at work, in the ordinary times of our days – whispering the presence of God’s Spirit into our lives. And this is the missional work of those who are pastors, guiding the communities we serve to be involved in the same kind of missional work – discovering and being part of God’s extraordinary mission tucked into our ordinary days.

iMissional.org | Roland Kuhl