Most of the spiritual giants in God’s kingdom are anonymous. It’s interesting to see who is named in the great “faith” chapter of Hebrews 11 and look at their stories — stories that are only a few highlights of countless days. What do we know of their daily grind of a life? Not much, but we see the result of their many small choices in the glimpses that Scripture provides.
That chapter ends with mention of a host of those who lived their life in faith, knowing that the end of their story was “not yet”. It reminds me of the brothers and sisters in Christ who are even now experiencing torture and death for the Gospel.
I think that the most amazing example of a life lived primarily in the mundane is Jesus. Christmas is a time of celebration of His birth, but it’s hard to imagine just how mundane that actually was. What do we know about His daily life on earth? Not much, but there would have had to be things like this:
- Keeping the baby Jesus clean, warm & fed — that’s lots of poopy diapers and baby spitup and the rest of infant care. The God who created the universe needed someone to change His diapers. Think about how far a step downward that is.
- Childhood — no temper tantrums but still daily meals and the cleanup involved. Preparation of daily meals without electricity, too. Most of the day was likely spent in community, talking and working.
- Early adulthood — I cannot imagine there were not chores of some sort. Floors need to be swept, the meal thing never goes away, dishes and laundry still happen. There is no mention of servants for this class of Jewish society.
- Ministry years — His years of ministry, short ones, were spent walking places as far as I can tell. Lots of unexciting stuff mixed in with the teaching, and He often used what was happening around them to illustrate the lessons. God uses stuff we understand to help us understand new concepts.
- Integrated into the Jewish home & community would be regular religious celebrations, teaching times for the family to focus on God and His Word. All the Feasts, the Sabbath, and more would be part of life’s regularity.
How many of those days do we know about? Not many. All we know is the relatively few times things were recorded. In today’s social media tech world, daily moments are recorded a lot, but in that time, it just happened. We see the fruit of the harvest, but we miss the mundane reality of seeds planted and organic growth that takes time.
At Christmas, I am reminded that God values the mundane and partakes in it through His Incarnation. He takes the ordinary, physical reality of daily life and blesses it with His presence in every aspect. It takes time to see the harvest, but it will come.
I had a blessing today, when my daughter posted about washing the dishes. It was encouraging to see some of the fruit that comes from just doing what comes next by the grace of God. It’s a privilege to have lived long enough to see a small part of what He has been doing all the time.