Extraordinary Influence in Ordinary Days
September 14, 2016
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My brother, sister and I listened as people shared with us how our mother had been an influence on their lives. We were at the mortuary during the visitation the night before our mother’s funeral. Mom had been involved in the church as a Sunday School teacher, Vacation Bible School teacher, a deaconess, and in many other ways. Now, at her death at the age of 90, people were helping us better grasp the legacy she left.
I recall, as a child, coming home from Vacation Bible School in the family car. Dad had left his farm work to pick us up (Mom didn’t drive). VBS was almost always held the hottest week of the summer (or so it seemed) and Mom, one of the VBS teachers, often had a splitting headache by the time we headed back out to the farm. I suspect she wondered if anything she taught had actually sunk in with her students, something she must also have wondered every Sunday morning when she finished teaching her Sunday School class. I also imagine she didn’t see great results as she served as a deaconess in the church. Yet, somehow, squeezing all of this into the ordinary days of cooking, washing clothes, gardening, and helping with the farm chores she managed to influence many lives for the good and for the Lord.
If we wait for a great opportunity to do something really amazing we’ll most likely end up doing very little with our lives. Most of life is a string of ordinary days filled with seemingly little opportunities that can easily be overlooked.
Great buildings have been built from a pile of ordinary bricks, it’s just that someone had to do the unglamorous work of putting them in place one brick at a time. What can make our lives extraordinary is doing something good, though not necessarily flashy, with the ordinary days. That’s the lesson I learned when I listened to the influence an Iowa farm wife, who happened to be my mother, had on the lives of so many others.
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people…” (Galatians 6:10)