by Burk Parsons
The ordinary Christian life is not the opposite of the radical Christian life. The ordinary Christian life is a radical life. The ordinary Christian life is a life of daily trusting Christ; daily repenting of our sins; daily abiding in Christ; daily loving Christ; daily dying to self; daily taking up our crosses and following Christ; daily loving God and neighbor; and daily proclaiming the gospel to ourselves, our families, our friends, and our communities. Every Christian is an ordinary Christian, and every ordinary Christian is a radical Christian. The ordinary Christian is not a complacent, passionless, nominal, or casual Christian. On the contrary, every ordinary Christian person—child, teenager, college student, father, mother, husband, wife, single man, single woman, retired man, and retired woman—every Christian is radical because every Christian is united to Christ by faith and will bear radical, life-giving fruit.
And what about the “radical” call to foreign missions? It’s true that not every Christian is a foreign missionary, but every Christian is on mission. We’re on mission not just when we drive out of our church parking lots every week but when we roll out of bed every morning. As followers of Christ, we are on mission when we go across the globe, when we go across the street, when we sit at the kitchen table with our family, when we enter our workplace or classroom, when we kneel to pray at the bedsides of our children, and when we discipline them and point them to our sinless Savior. Although not every Christian is called to serve God in a foreign country, every Christian is a foreigner in his own country—a citizen of heaven—and an ambassador of Jesus Christ. Every Christian is called out of darkness and into the light, and then called to go back into the darkness to shine—wherever God places him. And wherever He has placed us, we are called to be radically faithful, radically diligent, and radically shining as a light in our dark world. We are called to radically go wherever He calls us to go or radically stay right where we are, as we radically send and support those whom He has called to go. All of this we are to do with the same commitment and passion with which we radically serve alongside one another in the ordinary way Christ has ordained.
Throughout history, God has done extraordinary things through ordinary people. The ordinary Christian will always fight the status quo of lukewarm Christianity. The ordinary Christian will always fight nominal, passionless Christianity. Whatever we do, wherever we live, whatever our income, whatever our vocation, whatever our education, whatever we do in retirement, whatever we drive, whatever we eat or drink—we are called to do all for the glory of God as ordinary, radical followers and proclaimers of Jesus Christ on mission to make disciples of all nations, in whatever place God has called us to live and serve.
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