Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Frogs, Lizards, Celebrities and Ordinary Guys

The celebrity worship of today, the lifting up of a few people with the rest of us teeming anonymous masses idolizing them, disturbs me. Why? Because every person is uniquely created in God’s image to worship Him alone. This reality is even mirrored in our evangelical Christian sub-culture. And that bothers me even more. Why? Because if our God has any favoritism at all (and He really doesn’t), He has shown an amazing preference for the ordinary, the small, the weak, the wounded, the neglected, ignored, disrespected, the damaged goods, the down and counted out. He really is into those kinds of people—people like most of us.

This is Jesus’ way. As Abraham Lincoln said about common people, we can say about ordinary Christians, “He must love us as He made so many of us!” This is God’s way of spreading His presence and glory through every nook and cranny of this world—by taking ordinary guys (and gals) and filling workplaces, schools, recreational teams, neighborhoods, etc. with HIM. And He shines best through the ordinary.

I heard a story second hand from a worldwide mission conference several years ago that I have thought of many times. The speaker talked about a frog and a lizard. They both had different ways to hunt and get their food. The frog stayed in one place and waited for his food to come to him. If he tried to track all around the pond or along the shore he would starve. He was just too bulky of a presence. The lizard friend was different. He could squeeze into every place imaginable to get his food–in palaces, shacks, fields, rocks–every nook and cranny he could go to find food.

Which animal was most visible? The frog. But which animal covered the most ground? The lizard. We live in a Christian culture that glorifies frogs, those who are the up front, gifted, crowd gatherers, and downplays lizards. Frogs do have an important and legitimate place in God’s economy. But the lizard is the one who slithers into places the frog could never go. The lizard is the “ordinary guy.”

I feel passionate about reaffirming in my life and ministry the importance of the ordinary guy. Ordinary husbands and dads are key in pointing their families to Christ. This is still important after the children leave the home as I am finding out. He has the privilege of learning to love one woman for an entire lifetime.

Ordinary guys at work and throughout the week show Christ to an unbelieving world that is tired of hearing but is open to “seeing” the difference he makes in how he handles stress, conflict, temptation, success, failure, disappointment and everything in between. He can be seen up close and personal. He goes and carries the light of Christ into dark places—where HIS light is needed the most.

Accepting My “Lizard-ness” And Lovin’ It,


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Anonymous said...

This is a great word picture. Come to think of it the lizard (ordinary lay person) is often made to feel like a second-class kingdom citizen when he obviously is not!

thomas said...

Jamie -

good word - a needed critique on the Christian subculture buying into and being more shaped by our worldly culture than by the gospel and we need to tear down this high place - this alter -so to speak.

There is a myth about success in the Christian subculture. The myth that If we can only succeed and be successful then we can witness to the gospel and proclaim Christ, but what we fail to recognize is that daily faithfulness and obedience is more powerful than any momentary "success" and that even more so it is in the midst of suffering or brokenness that we can reveal the glory of God most powerfully. How do we face sickness and lose as followers of christ ? How do we face persecution? will we truly bless the name of the lord on the rad marked with suffering? Is God worth our praise and worship even if life is hard and we are suffering and we don't have any answers for why?

the christian culture in nORHT aMERICA avoids pain and suffering - but pain and suffering is the way of the cross - the way of our sanctification - the ground from which new life comes from - where the GLORY OF GOD IS REVEALED. It was the path jesus walked and we are following him.

Thank you for your post - God is at work in the ordinary - for the long haul - the answer is not with the guru of the Christian world - but with a long obedience in the same direction. Living faithfully as a husband and father and son is so much harder than impressing people with "my" ministry programs at the church i serve. This is why i LOVE the New testament's treatment of the qualifications for church leadership - they always remind me of the dailyness and ordinariness of our faith.

Spirit breath life and truth into your church and give us repentant and teach able hearts and lives.

Anonymous said...

Thomas-Thanks for your comment! Among others three books that have influenced me in this is Richard Halverson's "The Living Body," "Don't Waste Your Sorrows" and "Destined For The Throne" by Paul Billheimer. Thanks for reading and commenting. --Jamie