The Commonplace

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Greetings again, and welcome to Meditation Moments, and again our old-time greeting: the Lord bless you and make you a blessing!

Let’s have a breath of prayer for these that have written in for prayer. Our Father God, we come to Thee in the blessed name of the Lord Jesus Christ and we bring to Thee these that are in need. We know Thou dost hear us and Thou hast told us to ask and we shall receive, and we do believe Thy Word. (Matthew 7:7) You said to call upon Thee in the day of trouble and Thou wilt deliver. (Psalm 50:15) We do ask for deliverance for these that are in distress.

We ask also, Lord, that Thou give courage and grace to bear and faith to bring out into victory these that are suffering. We do pray for the victory through the name of the Lord Jesus Christ—that precious name that’s so powerful. For these others that have written about troublesome things, and to know Thy will, show them the way, and give them wisdom. And we ask Thee, Lord, that they may desire above all things that Thy will shall be done in their lives. We pray Thee, Lord, for wisdom on our part and our little team here, that we may do our best for Thee, that there might be such prayer backing this program that Thy presence will be felt. We want more than anything else that Jesus Christ shall be manifested to each one that listens in. So we do pray in His blessed, precious name, and Thy blessing upon each one. Amen.

We’ve been talking to you about the humble people, and now we’re going to say a few words about commonplace things and living in the grind of the commonplace. In 1 Corinthians 1:27–29, God’s Word says, “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world, and the things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and the things which are not, to bring to nought the things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.”

This text sort of hangs a halo of glory around commonplace things and it puts the idea of human greatness completely out of balance, and puts it on rather shaky foundations. This letter was written to the Greeks, and you’ll remember that they were not caring so much about the commonplace. The ever-present things of life had lost their charm for them. They were wanting something new all the time. (Acts 17:21)

Now, what is “the commonplace”? Well, it’s the valley where the millions meet; it’s where the multitudes travel, and what the multitudes do. It has nothing to differentiate and bring it to the limelight. But it’s the real work of the world; there is generally a desire on the part of many people to get out of the commonplace, to do something great, and they forget the cooking, washing, mending, sewing, and farming, nursing the sick, doing little kindnesses, and child-training. All of these things that come in the everyday round of the commonplace are great things in God’s sight, and God created them as well as He did the great things.

We get numbers of letters, especially from women, who are groaning about the commonplace, and dear ones who are nursing a loved one and they’re shut in to just four walls sometimes. But you know, there is an economic necessity for the love of the commonplace. There’s real character building in making the fires and washing dishes and doing cooking and raising your own garden, and a man doing carpentry. I love to see a woman who loves cooking and washing and mending, and I like to see a man who delights in his plows and his teams and his produce. For these things are divine. God made the farmer and He made the housewife.

God made the commonplace. I don’t know why it is that it seems like the very grind of it gets into people’s souls, and they begin to feel like they’re nobodies and that they don’t amount to anything in man or in God’s sight. Well, Dorcas was of more value than Bernice, the society daughter of Herod, and you’ll find many characters in God’s Word who lived amongst the commonplace.

God’s Word says, “Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content. We brought nothing into this world, and certainly we can carry nothing out of it” (1 Timothy 6:8, 7). Now that’s kind of a hard dose to swallow for anyone that’s craving for the high place in life and just likes to hit the high places and wants notoriety, and wants fame, and they detest the common round of things every day. But God’s Word is true, and to those that are grumbling about the monotony of life’s dead level—and that’s the great majority of us that have to traverse that, but for those who are complaining about that, let us remind you that God’s Word is just full of the commonplace and about the commonplace. For most of us, there is a trivial round every day. The morning bell calls us to do the same routine of the commonplace, and there seems no chance for doing anything really heroic or worth having lived for.

I wonder when we’ll ever learn the lesson that it’s doing some little duties of life faithfully, punctually, thoroughly, reverently, not for the praise of men, but for the “well done” of Jesus Christ, not for the payment to be received, but because God has given us a little place of work to do in His great world. Not because we must, but because we choose, not as slaves of circumstances, but doing it with the Lord in mind, doing it “as unto the Lord and not unto men,” doing it as Christ’s freed ones. (Colossians 3:23)

Then far down beneath the surge of common life, the foundations of a character are laid, more beautiful and enduring than coral, which shall presently rear itself before the eyes of man and angels, and will become an emerald island, green with perennial beauty and vocal with the songs of paradise. We ought therefore to be very careful how we complain about the common tasks of daily life. We’re making the character in which we have to spend eternity.

Let it be granted that you’re a person of ordinary ability; there’s only one chance in a thousand that you may be removed in some great sphere. Isn’t it a pity then to spend your life in useless regret and complaining and not being willing to do the humble task as unto the Lord, and do it with a sweet and cheerful spirit?

It’s a greater thing to do an unimportant thing with a great motive for God and for truth and for others, than to do a great, important thing and do it with such a complaining spirit. It’s greater to suffer patiently each day a thousand stings than to die once as a martyr at the stake. An obscure life really offers more opportunities for the nurture of a loftier type of character, the growth of Christian graces, more opportunities than any greatness, such as men call greatness. We sometimes will go down the story book of history and say, “Oh, if we could have been Grace Darling or Florence Nightingale, someone like that.” But God meant you to be for Him just where He put you, if you do as unto Him and not unto men.

God bless you to learn the lesson. He’s still on the throne, and prayer changes things.