the beauty of ordinary.

“There is no shame in not leaping from a plane. There is no shame in delivering a good batch of non-gourmet chocolate chip cookies.”

I wrote those sentences on January 2. I was thinking about writing a manifesto, a battle cry of belief. A manifesto is an answer to the question posed on the back of a Radisson hotel in-room coffee wrapper: “That’s our philosophy. What’s yours?”

The manifesto I was thinking about would be called “The beauty of ordinary”. It would speak to all the people who believe that they are just ordinary. It would speak to all the people who hear about people who leap out of planes and think, “That must be necessary to prove you are human.”

And I wrote, “There is no shame in not leaping from a plane.”

Because there are many people who matter to God and to others who have never leaped from a plane. They have never quit a job. They have worked in a cubicle for thirty years. The longest essay they ever wrote was in a graduation card for a child: “Proud of you. Dad.” The furthest they have traveled on a life-altering mission trip is next door. The longest speech they have given was the time that they received a watch for working for the same company for 45 years and they said, “thank you”. They regularly bake chocolate chip cookies and put them in an ordinary Ziplock bag without any holiday decorations and shyly give them to someone at work.

I passionately want those ordinary people to know that a majority of the people who heard Jesus speak and did what he asked never went on the road or wrote a gospel or got mentioned at the end of a letter from Paul. They just loved. As if that ought to be ordinary.

6 thoughts on “the beauty of ordinary.

  1. Rich Dixon

    Yeah, that Great Work or God-sized dream might be a batch of chocolate chip cookies, delivered with love and grace. “Ordinary”and “normal” aren’t kingdom words. So how do we inspire people to dream big and do great works without giving the impression that they have to jump out of planes?


  2. Anonymous

    As one of those 30 year cubicle types, you have shown great insight into the world of the “ordinary”, that when lived with and for God, can actually be quite “extraordinary”. I have always thought we will be greatly surprised when the headlines of Heaven don’t match the headlines of our times, and the heros of heaven don’t match the heros of our culture. It is going to be a blast!


  3. Johanna

    Jon, it was just yesterday my mom wrote these words to me:

    “One of the hardest things God ever led me through was learning to give up the need to be special to know my worth to Him. Ever since I decided it’s ok to be ordinary my life has been more satisfying and productive and peaceful. It’s not to say I don’t aim to do things well but I just don’t worry about my worth being dependent on the outcome. but that took over 50 years to learn! So hard for someone younger. Praying for comfort and peace for you.” -Mom


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