Dec 032012
 

My passion as a pastor (and to a degree as a blogger) is to impress upon my congregation that they matter.

Their lives matter.

Their jobs matter.

Their relationships matter.

All about them matters and it all matters to God.

Matt Redmond has written the book I wish I could have written on the subject.

 

I might have failed to write it, but I won’t fail to promote it.

In the American church we place great importance on the big and the successful…“As I look around the landscape of evangelicalism, the world I find myself in, the mundane escapes notice. The ordinary is given lip-service, but overlooked like the garnish on a steak dinner. What the evangelical church really wants is something as large as God Himself, whether personality or performance, workers or windfalls.”

After confessing that he used to preach to fit this model, Matt writes the following;

“Really? Is this the normal Christian life? Is God sitting around waiting for each and every believer to do something monumental? Is this the warp and woof of the New Testament? Are the lifestyles of the Apostles the standard for the persons in the pew? Are the first-century believers the standard? Is this our God? In the economy of God, do only the times when we are doing something life-changing have any spiritual cache with Him? Does He look over the mundane work of the housewife only to see the missions trip she may go on? So, I wondered. I wondered about the great majority I have known and know. The great majority living fairly ordinary lives. Is there a God, for instance, for those who are not changing anything but diapers? Is there a God for those who simply love their spouse and pour out rarely-appreciated affection on their children day after day? Is there a God for the mom who spends what feels like God-forsaken days changing diapers and slicing up hot dogs? Is there a God for the men who hammer out a day’s work in obscurity for the love of his wife and kids? Is there a God for just and kind employers? Generous homemakers? Day-laborers who would look at a missions trip to Romania like it was an unimaginable vacation? Is there a God for the middle-class mom staving off cancer, struggling to raise teenagers and simply hoping both Mom and Dad keep their job? Is there a God for the broken home with a full bank account but an empty bed? Is there a God for grown children tending to the health of their aged parents? Is there a God, who delights in the ordinary existence of the unknown faithful doing unknown work? Is there a God of grace for those who live out their faith everywhere but do not want to move anywhere? Is there a God for those who have bigger homes than me? More money than me? Nicer cars than me? Better health than me? Is there a God for the mundane parts of life, the small moments? Is there a God of kind smiles, good tips and good mornings? Is there a God of goodbye hugs and parting kisses? What about firm, truthful handshakes and grasps of frail fingers in sanitized hospital rooms? Does God care about the forgotten mundane moments between the sensational, those never remembered? Or are those spiritually vacuous moments for which there is no God? Is there a God of the mundane? Does this God I worship care about mundane people and moments?”

Redmond spends the rest of the book answering with an emphatic “YES” to all of the above.

This is not a large book… you could read it in an afternoon, but the truths contained in it will last you for a lifetime.

If I had the money to do so there are two books I’d put in the hands of everyone.

“Knowing God” by Packer…and this one.

One to teach you about the greatness of your God and one to teach you how that great God works through your seemingly ordinary life.

You matter.

Thank you, Matt.

Click on the book cover or here to order your copy.

  32 Responses to “Buy This Book!: God of the Mundane”

  1. I’m hoping the hype on the back cover is, uh, tongue in cheek, not serious.

    “His first appearance in decades!”

    I vote for tongue in cheek.

  2. I think we have discussed this theme often here. We have talked about the sacredness of visiting a neighbour who is ill, mowing her lawn or getting some groceries. A teacher who goes that extra mile for a hurting student. I have learned over the years that often the glory of God is manifested more in sitting next to an old saint in a hospital room than sitting in church.

    I think of a friend of mine. She is a widow in her early 70’s who helps care for her 7 year old severely autistic grandchild so that his parents can get some sleep at night. It is physically and emotionally draining work for her, but she does it unto the Lord, and she does it out of love.

    I’m glad Matt has taken the time to write about the (sacred) beauty of the mundane and pray it will encourage many.

  3. It is…

  4. Hate to be the old, crotchety, “I told ya so…” guy, but the book sounds very Lutheran, with its emphasis on the mundane. Ed Veith’s “God at Work” is also a good book on this topic.

    Whatever. I’m pleased that someone with this guy’s name recognition is writing about it. Very neat!

  5. my late husband came to the conclusion that the greatest virtue a man should be honored for was his integrity – we give character lip service, but IMX it isn’t honored on the street or from the pulpit
    i’ve only known one or two pastors who would stop in their tracks to greet a God-fearing, humble member of the flock rather than brush past him (her) on their way to greet Joe Mover-doer with the checkbook… but i haven’t known a very great number of pastors and priests, so maybe i’m wrong

  6. a true story from over half a century ago … my grandmother said that the assistant pastor of the very large Presbyterian church in our town, a highly educated man who went on to pastor an equally large church, himself, would visit my humble grandfather’s bedside regularly – my Bible college “educated” grandfather, whose speech was slurred from a series of strokes – alone in the quiet of the bedroom he’d sit talking and praying with grandpa for over an hour at a time …

  7. “God is milking the cows through the vocation of the milkmaid, said Luther. According to Luther, vocation is a “mask of God.” He is hidden in vocation. We see the milkmaid, or the farmer, or the doctor or pastor or artist. But, looming behind this human mask, God is genuinely present and active in what they do for us.”

    http://www.modernreformation.org/default.php?page=articledisplay&var1=ArtRead&var2=881

  8. I agree Michael….

  9. I’m reading a book on the life of John Quincy Adams. His life was anything but mundane, not to mention the amazing impact he had on the early foundational formation of this wonderful country we live in.

  10. Oh man, he wrote it before I could get to it!

  11. This is exactly what TV evangelists preach on. Enjoying Everyday Life, etc. I guess it’s just not cool when a televangelist says it.

  12. I literally just got of the phone with an old friend who’s struggling. He’s 57 and work is next to impossible for him currently. He’s single and has been thinking how he’s messed up his life with poor decisions. He currently lives with his 90 year old mother taking care of her as she suffers with Alzheimers. How he can even try to work at this time amazes me. He’s pretty depressed. We prayed before hanging up and I just sent him this article. My friends name is Gil. Thank you for posting this.

  13. Just bought this! Looking forward to reading it ’cause I have been pondering the fact that Paul wrote to a whole bunch of people who we never hear about, people like most of us who will live and die and not make a a big mark on the world. Thanks for sharing this.

  14. In the last several years I have seen how wonderful the little and normal things are.My family has become more important also.

  15. “Their lives matter.

    Their jobs matter.

    Their relationships matter.

    All about them matters and it all matters to God.”

    If you changed them or their with me, I would fight you tooth and nail because it cant and that is the surest thing I have ever learned from the evangelical faith. It cant matter unless if is successful, efficient etc. If there is one truth I have learned and I do mean with a passion we mean zero, in every single aspect of our lives zero and even less. We defy logic in meaning less then zero. Any type of joy, comfort, hope and other such is works salvation and is totally of Satan. I get that also, trust me I get that in spades and that is being kind. We can do nothing to honor God, in fact outside of the modern apologetic we hate God, you, me, our family, the pet dog, we all hate God from before day one. Actually God hates us back before day one, from an eternal perspective before day one. When I was conceived, at that very moment I became, personally, an enemy of God.

    To show what a failure I am I do not hate God, I could not even get that right. I love God, you would think I would move past my emotionalism and just apostatized to make things easier. I am sure that wil gain me a even hotter place in hell. From the very cheap seats it is not good news, it never ever has been for the vast majority of humanity. Please stop calling it that, thanks.

  16. An aside considering pain. Back in the mid eighties I started working with people with physical and emotional disabilities. In my tenure I have been hit struck etc with several objects, including, a metal folding chair, table, clothes rack, other students, couches, tables etc. In a practical sense this has effected my body, to my shame, as getting a folding meddle chair across the head does effect a persons health. It should not but it does and trust me I count this a personal weakness. I can even remember refusing to fill out a workman’s complaint as that is communist and spiteful against God. I get that and no I did not fill one out as that would have lead to my damnation. I get that I really do.

    As pathetic as this sounds, and trust me I get it is pathetic, even satanic. My years in this work has taken a toll on me personally, three ruptured disks, several broken bones, strained joints, nerves, torn muscles, etc. On a rainy day I try to get my muscles to allow me to get the ability to get the car keys into the lock so I can get to work. How pathetic is that, trust me I get it is pathetic. In spades. When the rain comes I struggle with things like walking, unlocking doors, riding a bike, and other such events. At times even standing can lead to excruciating pain. I can admit it does not lead to tears, I buried a mother, father, sister, and several dozen students with out any public tears. I get that part of it I really do, and I mean with a vengeance. God hates tears, I get that in spades I really do. I never quite understood why, but I get it.

    From the cheap seats, it really is not good news, it really is not. Actually it is a rather strange religion. No offense but it really is.

  17. brian speaks truth here “We can do nothing to honor God, in fact outside of the modern apologetic we hate God, you, me, our family, the pet dog, we all hate God from before day one.”

    This is the old man who still lives in us – clings to our flesh daily.

    brian understands what the evangelical denies – we are simultaneously justified (saint) and sinner… 100% of each 100% of the time.

    brian’s frustration comes in with evangelical teaching that you should be getting better and better as time goes by. By now, you should be at least up to 85% justified (saint) and have worked down to only 15% sinner.

    No, brian has it right – he just needs to learn to channel it better.

  18. I see so many older Christians coming to the conclusion that what is important is to “do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God”. The preoccupation with spiritual “success” and religious activity that characterized our early years fades. We conclude, This is just not working.

    So we start to look for something deeper and lasting and more genuine. And we start to decide, Maybe just being a loyal spouse and a good neighbor and an honest worker and a productive citizen really counts for something.

    And of course when we do that we are reaching a conclusion already reached by so many individuals and groups that have gone before.

    But to us, when we get there, it is new.

  19. before i think this through and censor myself – i hate labels and i hate accusations that are thrown out using them … it isn’t just races that get profiled unjustly … evangelical is first of all a secular word, a label used by those who scorn the faith – perhaps if we were more evangelical in defending and defining the faith … if i were to speak of a certain denomination according to my experience living among them, i would say that they have lovely manners, are completely, smugly inbred, opportunistic and untrustworthy – having godliness only in form … but common sense tells me that probably isn’t true and is a foolish generality

  20. PP Vet makes a good ponder … we all start as impressionable “babes in Christ” and, hopefully, mature over the years to a wiser and clearer perspective of the Faith and its requirements … maybe there’s a better word than “requirements” … haven’t time to think on it this morning, tho

  21. Em, – 2 points
    1.) evangelical is not a secular word used by those who scorn the faith – there is even a national association, once headed by our good friend Ted Haggard

    http://www.nae.net/

    2.) the way you describe the people of that denomination, I would say that your description is accurate – that’s how the old man acts in church people. But God sees us differently. 😉

  22. Sounds like an interesting book. I think Matt recognized as I do that the church inhabits a shallow pond, while the so called leaders of the day are falsely telling us we reside in an ocean.

    Matt’s response was to become a banker, and now a writer. Perhaps his voice is better heard when not behind the pulpit. Perhaps there will come a day when it will be better heard behind one.

  23. Almost finished with it and it is worthy of promotion!!

  24. MLD, i disagree on your first point and agree with your second … pretty much 🙂

    people who scorn the faith have made the label “evangelical” their favorite buzzword and it is their definition for a superstitious dangerous segment of society – should Believers affirm that definition?
    yes there is a problem: the prosperity tsunami was a noisy clamor that grounded Believers weren’t able to shout down – it picked up a lot of debris and has left the landscape littered with some strange fish – now if the charlatans inside the Faith continue to claim the word (or any other word of ours), shouldn’t we be taking exception to that presumption? … is every term of our Faith to be validated by popular secular definitions?

    it’s true that our reputation took a hit … yet today, i think i’m watching the Church come out of it okay – our Shepherd calls His sheep and we come … but i think i’ll start a defend the words of the Faith movement of some kind

    it’s so simple to add a couple words, i.e., “some segments claiming to be evangelical” – as opposed to validating the ignorant, broad-brush of secular labeling …

  25. For a long time I have seen that the simple fact that you are alive and are created in God’s image is enough. Debbie and I can’t exist without help. In the eyes of many we are just a burden. At time I look at the cost of just keeping us alive when we not only don’t contribute but draw off a lot of energy and money that could go to supporting others that are producing and are a plus instead of a negative. So I can say that God in not just God of the mundane but even the God of those who’s daily existence is way below mundane. Funny that the American ethics pull yourself up by your own bootstraps actually causes people to turn away from something if the can’t fix it or make it better. It seems that many don’t know that God is Lord of the valleys to.

    1 Kings 20:28 And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the Lord, Because the Syrians have said, The Lord is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore rwill I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the Lord.

  26. God bless you dmw. You are anything but a burden to this community.

  27. John D, amen to what Kevin just said – the older i get, the more sure i am that our greatest contribution while on this earth is affirming to all within earshot, “Jesus is Lord” and then living like He is

  28. All,
    …able to take a moment here, from the mundane, which is where the presence of God abides, just to encourage anyone and everyone that this is what life is all about.

    Read “Practicing The Presence of God” and you’ll find that The Kingdom Of God is HereNow. The future will take care of itself, rapture or not, end times or 10,000 years more of Earth as our home, we are each assured of little, so if you have a breath, then celebrate The Abiding One who gives it to you and be willing to receive love from all around you who can only give it imperfectly, as children who are simply doing their best most of the time.

    …and now, back to the mundane…

  29. Kevin H. and Em said what I was thinking. DMW, you’ve paid your dues. If someone truly thinks that you and Debbie are a burden, that’s their loss. They should be grateful for the opportunity to serve!

  30. Michael, adding this book to my wishlist.

    A friend at church is having a really rough time right now. I’m going to give him a copy of Make Your Own Application. I think it’ll be just what the doctor ordered.

  31. Dmw,

    I know somewhat of what you speak with both my wife and me both having chronic health issues that bring limits. You and your wife are of infinite importance.Don’t be taken in by the
    myth that you are only what you contribute. Folks like you and who can’t always contribute directly can always act lovingly toward others. Too many Christians act like the world, judging others (and themselves) by outward actions and how much money is in their bank account.

    Our values cannot be taken from us! I’m learning to “live my values.” God bless you and Debbie.

  32. What a refreshing conversation here. I, too, am a ‘student’ of this subject, the learning of finding value in the ‘ministry of the mundane’ after decades of defining ‘value’ by success and being productive & busy & visible. It’s a shocking but inescapable transition…God is faithful to see that we enroll in this ‘school’ of physical decline, hopefully keeping our hearts open to seeing our value to Him in spite of worldly ‘worthlessness’….. it’s a struggle fo sho.

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