The First Assignment
I felt let down when my husband’s first military orders arrived for Ft. Benning, Georgia, otherwise known as “Ft. Beginning” because of the basic training that takes place there. I was one of those who bought into the line “join the military and see the world.” Here we were being sent to my husband’s home state of Georgia. When we arrived in Columbus it seemed so ordinary—and hot. Oh my, was Columbus, Georgia a hot and humid place to live.
The message of Mark 1:14–15 prepares the reader for what could be a thrilling event. The stage is set with a voice from heaven, a battle with Satan, and a proclamation that “the kingdom of God is at hand!” Instead of a thrilling event of pomp and pageantry following all this drama, there is a walk into the backwater region of Galilee. You would think Jesus would start his ministry in Jerusalem, the epicenter of religious activity. He eventually journeyed there, but that was not where he started his ministry. Jesus started in Galilee, a place symbolic of day-to-day life. He went to where the common people were, in what could be described as his own home state.
My fellow seekers of exotic, big, out-of-the-ordinary days, don’t miss the lesson here: God uses us in the ordinary places and in everyday life. Because of God’s presence in those days and those places, “ordinary ceases to exist.” It is easy to belittle the ordinary, but life is full of ordinary days and places. If we don’t see the possibilities, we will miss the mission.
Jesus says ordinary things like sharing food, drink, clothes, or a visit become extraordinary acts of service when done on his behalf (Matthew 25:35–36). We are invited to be God’s hands, feet, and voice in those ordinary places. It was good enough for Jesus; it is good enough for me. What about you?