DEVOTIONAL GUIDE: The theology of the ordinary – Park Rapids Enterprise

In a world that drifts towards the sensationalized grandeur of polarity and reactivity, it is important to take a step back and think about theology through the lens of the ordinary.

Most of our lives are lived in the ordinary – not the exceptional realities we often are exposed to through the news media. We live, we work, we play and we spend time with our family and the people closest to us. This should not be downplayed as an undesirable life. This is the life that God gave to humanity.

In Genesis 1:28 we read, “And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”

This is often referred to in theology as the cultural command and the first command that God gives to humanity in the Bible. This is not a theological afterthought from God for things to do when there is nothing better to do. This is the essential call of God to humanity.

Humanity reflects the creativity of God when we live out this command to live our family life, home life and work life. Rather than spend our time frustrated and upset with world events we cannot control or influence, we would be prudent to spend the majority of our time invested in these foremost commands of God.

Lest we are tempted to believe that the cultural command of God is purely in the Old Testament, we see similar commands in the New Testament. In 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 we read, “Aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”

This command, given through the Apostle Paul, calls the church to be engaged in the work they were called to and to live quiet, noble and hardworking lives.

One phrase that should beckon the 21st century church is, “mind your own affairs.” I think this phrase was not meant to be an indictment of the church in Thessaloniki, but an invitation to live a different kind of life. Being too intrigued by the events of the world rarely results in greater good for self and the world. Instead, the result is too often that it robs us of joy and peace.

I will close these thoughts with the wise words of the 16th century church reformer, Martin Luther: “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”

Our lives are lived in the ordinary. Spend most of your time there.

Rev. Josiah Hoagland serves as mission director at CHI-St. Joseph’s Health in Park Rapids.

Rev. Josiah Hoagland serves as mission director at CHI-St. Joseph’s Health in Park Rapids.


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