How to Find the Extraordinary When You Are Not on a Mission Trip
By: Pastor Daniel Parkins
“I was nearly 22 years old and had just returned to my college town from a part of Africa that had missed the last three centuries. As I walked to church in my weathered, worn-in Chaco’s, I bumped into our new associate pastor and introduced myself. He smiled warmly and said, ‘Oh, you. I’ve heard about you. You’re the radical who wants to give your life away for Jesus.’ It was meant as a compliment and I took it as one, but it also felt like a lot of pressure because, in a new way, I was torturously uncertain about what being a radical and living for Jesus was supposed to mean for me. Here I was, back in America, needing a job and health insurance, toying with dating this law student intellectual (who wasn’t all that radical), and unsure about how to be faithful to Jesus in an ordinary life. I’m not sure I even knew if that was possible.
I entered college restless with questions and spent my twenties reading Marx and St. Francis, being disciple in the work of Rich Mullins, Ron Sider, and Tony Campolo, learning about New Monasticism (though it wasn’t named that yet), and falling in love with Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day. My senior year of college, I invited everyone at our big student evangelical gathering to join me in protesting the School of the Americas.
[After spending time in various “radical” Christian communities, Warren began to wonder if ordinary life was even possible.]
Now, I’m a thirty-something with two kids living a more or less ordinary life. And what I’m slowly realizing is that, for me, being in the house all day with a baby and a two-year-old is a lot more scary and a lot harder than being in a war-torn African village. What I need courage for is the ordinary, the daily every-dayness of life. Caring for a homeless kid is a lot more thrilling to me than listening well to the people in my home. Giving away clothes and seeking out edgy Christian communities requires less of me than being kind to my husband on an average Wednesday morning or calling my mother back when I don’t feel like it.”
-An excerpt from “Ordinary,” by Michael Horton
You can still live in the supernatural, when your life seems “ordinary.”
But, a great lie of our generation is that ordinary is wrong, some how less than, and the real work is out there, in the slums, saving souls with the might of our hands. But not necessarily.
Both a mission trip and loving and serving God in our daily life requires the death of you. Both have costs— raising money for international trips to third world countries or to feed the hungry, but also working long hours to feed your family.
Long term and short term missions are something I believe everyone should experience. But a true test of passion and faithfulness to God comes not in the peaks of these extravagant trips, but in the seemingly mundane days of life. The true test is whether you can stay the course when you are not on a mission trip. Ordinary life is not mediocre. There is a level of God that you can only get in your ordinary living. So find the extraordinary in what feels ordinary.
For more from Pastor Daniel Parkins, go to https://danielparkins.wordpress.com/about/