More Of The Same
I received a text this week from a single mom struggling at Christmas time. She wrote, “… more of the same … Disappointing.”
Sometimes the ordinary routine of daily living can be discouraging. I mean really- changing diapers, fixing dinner, working, going to church, blessing the food etc. etc.- How much influence can doing these ordinary tasks really have on mine or anybody else’s eternity?
The Most Ordinary Person
At Christmas time I can’t help but think of the most ordinary person I know of in the scriptures –Joseph the stepdad of Jesus. Except for a few sentences the story of the earthly father of Jesus is hidden.
For example one part of his life we know about is his dilemma of how his fiancé Mary got pregnant? As far as we know he never asked the question to any body else not even Mary. In the small town like Nazareth with perhaps as many as 500 residents, surely the potential “gossip” from community friends crossed his mind. For awhile Joseph had no answer from Heaven “he thought on these things” (Matt 1:20) . He had no one to turn to so he turned to God in prayer. The revelation to “Good old Joseph” was UNlike what happened to Mary (mother of Jesus) and Zacharias (father of John the Baptist) where the angel appeared to them during broad daylight hours-even struck Zacharias as dumb! But not for Joseph. For Joseph the message came after a hard day’s work while he was trying to get a little sleep. He literally “dreamed” the message in a very strange dream. The message that “… the child begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit“. (Matthew 1:20) Joseph woke up the next day from his “sleep” and “….took Mary to wife.” (Matthew 1:24) Why would God announce his son’s birth to Joseph “in a dream”- such a very ordinary way?
Joseph appears to have lived a simple ordinary life. When he received personal revelation from God to do something he did it; he followed Jewish traditions; and he did the routine husband and dad things. His life so routine and ordinary perhaps the gospel writers didn’t even think they were worth writing about it. Nothing fancy just a poor carpenter’s life. Joseph was not a statesman, not a church leader- He was “just” Joseph and left the rest up to God.
Why Not Another?
Obviously God could have chosen anyone he wanted to be the earthly father. Right?
Think about it… If you had to choose someone to raise YOUR SON… why not:
– One of the three Wise Men- they were wealthy and in-tune with the spirit.
– Or how about King Herod- a very powerful and influential man.
God wanted and chose the best for His son Jesus. God recognized the power of a person who was capable of routinely doing the “simple and ordinary”.
Don’t Be Discouraged By Being Ordinary
Don’t be discouraged or think you are falling short by “just” being a mom or dad. Many are unhappy because they think they should be doing something unusual or something phenomenal- like be the Relief Society President or the Bishop. Joseph preaches a powerful sermon by his quiet ordinary life.
After all, to do well those things which God ordained to be the common lot of all mankind, is the truest greatness. To be a successful father or a successful mother is greater than to be a successful general or a successful statesman…. We should never be discouraged in those daily tasks which God has ordained to the common lot of man. Each day’s labor should be undertaken in a joyous spirit and with the thought and conviction that our happiness and eternal welfare depend upon doing well that which we ought to do, that which God has made it our duty to do. (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1971), pp. 285-86)
Life for most of us is made up of a thousand and one little things we do day-after-day. Our success or failure in life and in eternity will depend largely upon how well each small, seemingly unimportant, task and duty is done as it comes along. For sure, doing the “little ordinary things” form and shape our destiny.
The text I sent back to the single mom went something like this:
Never Never say MORE OF THE SAME or be DISAPPOINTED when you have done your best at mothering and “just being you” for one more day! There is power and eternal influence as you do the ordinary and routine Mormon thing – one more day. Continue this for the rest of your days and surely ALL THE LORD HAS WILL BE YOURS-ALL OF IT!
This Christmas give yourself permission to recognize the gift of ordinary and simple. You’ll be happy when you can see and appreciate the importance with which God has placed on those who do the commonplace things of life.
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