The Glory of the Mundane

Highlights from the Chapter

Something beautiful is waiting if we will only enter into the marginalized corners of the place we already call home

To be truly present there, we had to recognize that we didn’t ‘own’ our lives in the way we thought we did

God doesn’t remove us; He places us. There is no missional dislocation, only missional relocation

Many pastoral mentors in my life have shared with me that the first five years in a place had been their most challenging time of fighting for credibility and lacking impact

If we are distracted by an upward career path, we will likely find ourselves disconnected from our pace and the people around us

It takes a long time to sink roots in the ground, but just a few second to cut down a tree

Ministering with Jesus is a descent into humility, not an ascent into influence
— Quotes from Chapter 5

Sometimes we are so concerned with making a name for ourselves that we can miss the profound moments of beauty that surround us everyday. 

In a city like New York, and really in the overarching narrative of our culture, the pursuit of fame has become the supreme goal of life.  Likes, hearts, our SnapChat score or 5 minutes [it can even be 15 seconds] of fame has become the definition of success.   The problem is that this internal and external pressure for notoriety often leads to two struggles.

The first is a perceived sense of failure and inadequacy.  In all honesty, it is sometimes hard to be overlooked for others who have written books and lead larger movements and churches.  The problem is that measuring my worth based on my performance and accomplishments will often leave me perpetually dissatisfied because there will always be someone more famous or accomplished.

But secondly and more importantly, this constant pursuit of fame blinds me to the far more profound things God is doing in, through and around me.  When my hope is reduced to my life and my fame, my view of the world is very narrow and ultimately unfulfilling.  However, when my view is opened to see that every moment matters because they are part of a much grander story unfolding.  I can learn to see ordinary moments, painful moments and even failure as powerful and meaningful because of what they are showing me about myself, my world and God.

How does this all relate to this idea of mission and what Briggs is getting at in his book? 

Well, if my end goal isn't fame, then mission and ministry aren't reduced to big and elaborate moments and events.  I don't have to

  • Be the best leader
  • The ultra-extrovert
  • Be the most popular on my block
  • Have the biggest apartment
  • Be the best cook

To see God do great things through me and in my neighborhood. 

Instead, what Briggs and really what God is advocating for, is not fame but faithfulness.  This staying invitation is more a commitment to showing up than a pursuit of being noticed.  This is not about demonizing fame, but instead about understanding that fame is a moment but faithfulness is a lifetime. Building a life of faithfulness in my community will have incredible ripple effects into eternity if we can learn to see glory in the mundane moments of life.

Consider...

How might this metric of faithfulness change the way you think about loving and serving in your community, workplace or school?

From the Chapter

  • Which mundane areas are hardest for you to serve others in?
  • How have you experienced the favor of longevity among people?

Additional Resources

Sensing Jesus by Zack Eswine - No single book [not just because the author has the same name], has taught me more about learning to see God in the ordinary and finding rest in a life of faithfulness than this book.