The Glory of Plodding

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Early this year I read an article written by Kevin DeYoung (the original post can be found here) that discussed the churches need for more “plodding visionaries” instead of “revolutionaries.” The reason for this article is “many Believers are starting a revolution of real Christ-followers living in real community without the confines of church.” In other words many Christians are focused on doing radical (world-changing) things, without exhibiting self-discipline or faithfulness. After something bores them, they simply move on.

The true problem that Kevin DeYoung has with this mindset is most days discipleship or ministry within the Church is really ordinary.

maybe that’s why so many Christians are getting tired of the church. We haven’t learned how to be part of the crowd. We haven’t learned to be ordinary. Our jobs are often mundane. Our devotional times often seem like a waste. Church services are often forgettable. That’s life. Life is usually pretty ordinary, just like following Jesus most days. Daily discipleship is not a new revolution each morning or an agent of global transformation every evening; it’s a long obedience in the same direction.

As a missionary I had to teach myself this…like many of you I had an idea in my mind of what missions was about. I envisioned myself cutting down vines in Africa with my machete and swinging from tree to tree on a vine rescuing fair damsels in distress every day. Of course 95% of the work involved in missions are ordinary day to day things that could never be included in a prayer letter

When the majority of the day is filled with ordinary work, I find myself sometimes focusing all of my attention on the 5%, or trying to complete more revolutionary work while overlooking the ordinary work. But DeYoung points out those who are faithful in the day to day ordinary work (plodding visionaries) are far more revolutionary than those who have dreams of changing the world, but haven’t proven faithful to anything yet.

“With all due respect, what’s harder: to be an idolized rock star who travels around the world touting good causes and chiding governments for their lack of foreign aid, or to be a line worker at GM with four kids and a mortgage, who tithes to his church, sings in the choir every week, serves on the school board, and supports a Christian relief agency and a few missionaries from his disposable income?” Kevin DeYoung

Each of us have opportunities to daily choose between revolutionary acts, or the ordinary work of a plodding visionary, and in those moments we must remember God’s blessing of faithfulness. Every morning around 7:00 I have a choice between starting sermon work, or sweeping the house (this is necessary every day since I keep the doors open for an ocean breeze to come through). To be honest in those moments wrestling with the definition of Greek words seems a lot more important than dust on the floor, but I sweep first because faithfulness in the ordinary work brings greater glory to God.

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