“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I come from a small town in the middle of Wisconsin. The land is flat, the air is dry and cold (or extremely humid and hot), and the most common response people give me when I tell them where I’m from is “oh, so, cheese.” My town is the definition of ‘ordinary’. I’ve spent a lot of years taking my town and its people for granted, because I thought God wasn’t doing anything there. After my Discipleship Training School and my School of Biblical Studies, I came home with a sense of pride, and I held my home in contempt (this was not the fault of the schools; I just missed the point). I was a hypocrite, saying with my mouth that God loved and acted for everyone in a global sense, but believing in my heart that he was absent from Wisconsin. Thankfully, God is graceful to break the hearts of man, and thankfully, he taught me what it means to value his people and his kingdom.
If God is with us every day, he is with us every place as well
This is where the passage from Matthew comes in. This isn’t just some good advice. Jesus is essentially commanding us “do not worry”. What value is it to not worry for tomorrow? It shows us that no matter where we are, God is present, watching and faithful to provide what we need as we need it. If I am somewhere ‘exotic’, say the Amazon jungle, God is there, working in me and through me in that day. If, three months later, I am staring at the corn fields of Midwest America, God is there, working in me and through me in that day. If God is with us every day, he is with us every place as well. Focusing on today makes it impossible to worry about where God might have us tomorrow. In this way the focus changes from God’s extraordinary action, to the extraordinary nature of God.
Is Our Calling Extraordinary?
Here’s an example. We often remember Abraham as someone who had an extraordinary relationship with God because of all the crazy things that happened in his life: the miracle of his calling, the promise and fulfillment of Isaac, the conversation about Sodom and Gomorrah, the covenants God made with him, and quite a lot more. These are all amazing events and valuable teachings that show that God does incredible things. Sometimes, we forget that in the background of all of these events, Abraham was called to live in a tent for the rest of his life. Hebrews 11 states that Abraham was able to do this because he was looking forward to a time when tents would be made obsolete by the city of God. Granted, he wasn’t distracted by the possibility of exploring jungles or touring a volcano or snowboarding or taking pictures of coffee on his phone and so many other things we deem ‘exciting’. But even if he had all those possibilities before him, I don’t think he would have cared, because he knew who God was and what he was called to do.
Ordinary isn’t Boring
This is how I understand the need to love the ordinary, or rather, what the world would refer to as ordinary. I don’t believe God sees the world as ordinary, and as his workers and friends, I don’t believe we are supposed to either. God and his kingdom are inherently extraordinary, and to say the things he has called us to are ‘boring’ or to crave another job or destination is to dismiss how he is moving in those places for his kingdom. I love adventure and seeing new things and experiencing different cultures, but I now see that adventure shouldn’t come at the cost of sacrificing what God is doing in the ‘ordinary’ places.
Content in our tents
Maybe God has called you out of missions back to your home or to someplace you had no desire to go. Maybe you’re the parent, sibling, or friend of someone currently in YWAM and you’re constantly hearing about their incredible adventures and you feel like your life is boring in comparison. Maybe you are a YWAMer about to head home for a while. Or maybe you’re just struggling with being called to something other than what you hoped and dreamed for your life. Understand that God is there, and he is doing the extraordinary even if you cant see it.
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
God has brought me to a lot of different places, and shown me a lot of different things, for which I am forever grateful. But I am no longer envious of seeing the world, of being somewhere other than where God has called me in that time. Proverbs 14:30 says “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” For so long I was envious of the world. I wanted to experience different cultures and see new sights. But focusing on who God is and what he is doing right now in this moment has brought a newfound appreciation and ability to see what God is doing in my tiny town.
God has called me back to my tent many times over the last few years. Before it always felt like a burden. But now, I find it a joy because I see God there, and he is extraordinary enough for me.