Last October a man whom I knew simply as “Jim” as a junior and senior in high school was named the commandant of the United States Marine Corps. This is the highest position a person can attain as a Marine Corps officer and the commandant becomes a member of our nation’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Gen. James F. Amos, an aviator (jet pilot) becomes the first ever commandant who has not come from the “ground side” of the Corps.
Jim and Bonnie Amos were our youth group sponsors from 1972-74 at International Baptist Church in Honolulu. When the youth group traveled to Maui on spring break to help plant a new church, Jim and Bonnie were there. When we had our youth meetings, they were there. They were there to encourage and to listen as they modeled a loving marriage. I appreciated that they just hung out with us and seemed to care. Pretty ordinary stuff with very extraordinary impact.
We reconnected again in 1985 when Jim and Bonnie’s growing family returned to Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station and Cindy and I were beginning our ministry with The Navigators on that base. Bonnie then confessed to us over dinner one night that she didn’t think we would make it as 19 and 17 year-olds getting married. I’m sure glad that she kept that to herself at the time!
I followed Jim’s career a bit through the internet and apparently, serving Marine Corps families was a habit the Amos’ continued long after their days in Hawaii.
Why am I writing this? I hope not to impress anyone that I know the commandant of the Marine Corps or to glorify celebrity or career success as some kind of ultimate value. I am really feeling something quite the opposite. Please hear me out.
As I watched the State of the Union address a couple of weeks ago and saw the familiar, though now older face of Jim Amos in the front row, I was reminded that my life is filled with people whom I have no idea of the opportunities that God has in store for them either in this life or in the life to come.
Jesus was emphatic that the people whom we think of as “ordinary” or even insignificant He sees as glorious to him now. Only a relative few that this world exalts become followers of Him. (I Corinthians 1, James 2) In other words, there are not a lot of “Jim stories” where we see exaltation in this life of a humble servant of Christ.
Jesus Himself is the Supreme Example of this. He was glory disguised in the ordinary - a humble carpenter from Nazareth. For those who did not witness His resurrection appearances and have not believed, his life ended in a shameful criminal’s death.
But this is what I am learning: That same wonder of the incarnation needs to also be extended to the ordinary people He puts into our lives--beginning with our own family members whom we are most likely to take for granted. EACH of those He puts into our lives are of infinite value to Him.
How we are eventually exalted will not be according to how many people we are superior over or responsible for (in Jim’s case almost a quarter of a million people and their dependents) but how faithfully we have served the people God has put into our lives--whether that be many or few. (Mark 10:43-45) This is clearly what Jesus says and someday we will see forgotten servants exalted and those whom this world exalts seen for what they are. (Colossians 3:1-4)
Paul, by the Holy Spirit said it best, “So from now on we regard (see) NO ONE from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded (saw) Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if ANYONE is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:16-17, NIV with emphasis, explanations added.)
Only Beginning To See This Ordinary Glory All Around Me,
Note: Do you have any stories of God’s Glory showing up in the ordinary? I would love to hear them and share them with a larger audience if you would like! Just email me at (JNBohnett@aol.com)
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