No Heros, Just Ordinary People

ordinary-MHorton-2014…Ordinary lives have an ordinary impact that is beautiful in its own right. The choice has to be made, hardly earth-shattering at the moment, between ignoring a child’s complaint or taking her to the doctor. By choosing the latter, the busy mother saved her daughter’s life.

Less catastrophic but no less dangerous is the choice to do something big when something small is exactly what’s called for in the moment. The habit of reading stories to children at bedtime is often tedious. Family and private devotions can be tedious as well. So too can daily homework be a chore for students, along with grading for teachers. Making rounds is often tedious for doctors and nurses. yet daily faithfulness to these callings – more accurately, to God and the neighbors he has called us to serve – is precisely what enriches life.

We don’t need another hero. We need a Savior, who possessed ‘no form or majesty that we should look at him,’ and yet bore our sins (Isa 53:2-3). In fact, we need to be saved from our own hero worship, whether of ourselves or others. Jesus Christ never disappoints us because he is not simply someone to look up to because of his achievements, but is someone to trust because everything that he achieved was for us. And we need a communion of saints he has chosen and redeemed with us and for us. We need ordinary believers of every generation, race, and socioeconomic background to whom we’re united by baptism to one Lord and one faith by one Spirit. We simply need ordinary pastors to deliver the word of life and its sacraments faithfully, elders to guide us to maturity, and deacons to help keep the temporal gifts circulating in the body.

The actual churches we know are often the most difficult places in the world, especially if we are creative, ambitious, and drawn toward novelty. The patient discipline of belonging to a community (preferably, the same local community) over a long period of time is difficult for those of us born after 1964. Church growth analysts often tell us that ‘brand loyalty’ is a thing of the past and that churches will just have to catch up with that fact…. We have Corinth written all over us.

…Contentment comes from knowing that the body of Christ is far greater than any of its members by itself. Even Christ considers himself incomplete until his whole body shares in his risen glory.

With that realization, what seemed like boring routine with boring people may actually take on a different aspect. Like a vast field, we are growing together into a harvest whose glory will only appear fully at the end of the age.

Taken from chapter 8 of Michael Horton’s Or-di-nar-y: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World (Zondervan, 2014), which I continue to read with great benefit. The chapter is strikingly titled “We Don’t Need Another Hero.” The paragraphs I have quoted are found on pp.165-67. Next time we will go into chapter 9, “God’s ecosystem.”