There are seasons in “liturgical” churches known as ordinary time. One lies between observance of Pentecost and Advent. In the Baptist tradition we might call it “not Christmas or Easter.” What I want to discuss isn’t the merits of the liturgical season or a comparison between Baptist and other denominational traditions. I want to take the term “ordinary time” hostage and use it in the context of our own life. When you saw ordinary time did something come to mind? For a lot of us this might be an ordinary time. School is in full swing. Thanksgiving is still two weeks away. Some of you might disagree since you have a Football game to look forward to every weekend. Ordinary time might mean you don’t see the finish line on a project at work or you’re three months from a big vacation.
God is the easiest to see working in our lives in our highs and lows. If you are going through a rough time you turn to God for help. When you have a victory you can rejoice in His favor, but how do we continue to worship him when life gets uneventful? Do we depend on the pastor to get us fired up? Do we wait for the worship leader to pick our favorite song? While we bare the burden of edifying the body and pointing our efforts towards the cross, planning a service around pushing your emotional buttons is an impossible pursuit. Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all Your heart, and do not lean on your own insight.” Yes He wants us fully engaged with worship, but when we are feeling “blah” does that mean we shouldn’t show up? Jesus has died for us, so that He could capture our hearts in worship for us. Could we at least fight through some doldrums to Thank Him?
This year is the first time I’ve been able to read through the Bible from start to finish on a consistent basis. Every day I’d set a timer for 15 minutes and started reading. When the timer went off I finished the chapter and closed the book. I wouldn’t stop if I didn’t understand something. If I felt like I glazed over something I’d just keep going. I missed a lot, but I read even more. There were many days I didn’t feel like it. There were many days I missed, but I’d just pick up where I left off and read another 15 minutes worth. There were many days my eyes went over lists and lists of censuses, but when I look back over the whole time I’m amazed how much I grew in the word.
Sometimes that day’s scripture would spur me into a specific prayer. Sometimes It would motivate me to worship in song. Other days I felt dry and didn’t understand what I read. Then I would pray something like, “thank you for showing me this scripture, and for the things that will be revealed by me reading the whole Bible.” And some days I would close the book and walk away.
Maybe 15 minutes is too long for you. Maybe it’s just 5. You probably won’t finish in a year at that pace, but who cares? You’re doing it! Maybe there is some other discipline you need to work through. I encourage you to practice and look to improve in whatever you feel you maybe lacking in these things we call spiritual disciplines. Prayer, meditation, service, I could improve in all of these. We worship God through our efforts of pursuing obedience and holiness. This is the “treasure” we are storing in heaven that Jesus spoke of.
Let the grace of God through the blood of Jesus Christ be the motivation of hearts. We are toiling towards perfection that we will see one day. A perfection that Jesus achieved on our behalf. A perfection that Jesus freed us to pursue without fear of failure or condemnation. We are closer to perfection than we were yesterday. That doesn’t seem so ordinary to me.