January 19, 2012

Ordinary Things

If you should be given the message by a doctor that you have a fatal, incurable disease, with a limited time left to live, what would you do? Better yet, what should you do? My neurologist suggested that if there was anything special that I always wanted to do, I should do it now (this past summer). Some people have called it “your bucket list”. Some might think to go on that coveted cruise or spend some quality time at that exotic all-inclusive resort. I’m not saying that doing this is necessarily wrong, but what is the right, biblical thing to do? What would God have us to do?

One of the principles we find in the word of God is to ‘set your house in order’. In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. (
2 Kings 20:1) What did Hezekiah do? How did he respond to this devastating news? We read that he prayed unto the Lord and wept sore. This of course is the most important thing for us to do – to get right with God. To pray, repent from past and present sin, to read His Word, and to commune with Him. Hezekiah received a most unusual answer to his prayer request. His life was extended by 15 years. God can and does work miracles like this at times, but more often He uses the ordinary means of medicine, doctors advice and treatments. Sometimes these means are blessed and are successful, and sometimes not. God’s will and purposes will be carried out, to His glory, regardless. We are not to fatalistically give up praying or using the means God has given us, but ultimately we need to be made willing to align our will with His will for our lives. That can be a challenge and test of faith, but God can give peace and comfort while under affliction.

Other aspects of ‘setting your house in order’ may require the clearing up of old outstanding unresolved disagreements with other people or wrongs that may have accumulated. Forgiveness might need to be begged for, or apologies might need to be made. It is always best to take the lower place and to make an honest effort to heal those festering wounds. Clearing up financial matters, paying off debts, organizing your bank accounts, credit cards, investments, arranging your funeral, and updating your will, are all good things to do. We need to be realistic, practical and responsible with whatever God has given us.

But what should we be doing with the rest of our time and resources? I have been thinking about this lately, and just last night asked Lena, " Is there something else I should be doing? How should I be spending the little time I have left?" I was feeling that perhaps I should be doing something special or memorable while I could. We found the answer this morning when we were both reading the Head Heart Hand blog, and Dr. Murray had a link to Tim Challies article titled “On Doing Ordinary Things”. Challies says: “What does it look like to live a life that has been transformed by this gospel of grace through faith? Paul lays it out in all its ordinariness. It is not a life of doing things that makes all the world take notice and declare your virtues, but a life of quiet, humble service and a long, slow growth in godliness.” (
www.challies.com January 18, 2012 post) It is in the ordinary things, the routine daily things, that we are called to live in gratitude and faithful dependence on the Lord. Conversations and visits with fellow believers, family times, regular devotions, church attendance, eating and drinking, physio, walking, these are the things that fill our day, they are all actually quite ordinary, and yet each is a special gift from God to us. We are called to have a quiet confidence and hope in God. ”In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15). We should aim to glorify Him in all areas of our life, yes, even when they're just "ordinary".

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