God Uses the Ordinary

As a pastor, I sometimes trip over the words coming out my mouth when I try to say that “God uses ‘little people.'” There ought to be a better way of saying that.

Some of us remember how Leona Helmsley offended the world by saying that “only little people pay taxes.” She is now comfortably serving a long sentence for tax evasion in some federal institution. The judge probably added another six months just for the “little people” put-down.

How about “ordinary.” God uses ordinary people. Folks like you and me. He uses ordinary things. Ordinary days.

Look up the definition and you’ll quickly see the word means different things to different people. To some, it implies inferiority and the commonplace. In this article, it simply means: the normal, the usual.

A day like today. A person like you and me. A thing like this on my desk.

God delights in using the non-special.

Here’s a couple of songs on that theme.


I kiss my baby on the cheek

then she wraps her little arms around me

The rest of the world just melts away

As I’d hang on every word she would say

When I wake up and I see

The sun shining down on me

That’s when I thank God

For an ordinary day.

I drink my coffee on my swing in my back yard

The birds that are singing just don’t know how good they are

I’m so happy where I am right now

Isn’t that what life’s about anyhow

When I wake up and I see

The sun shining down on me

That’s when I thank God

For an ordinary day

Now I lay me down to sleep at night

As I think about the day that’s gone by

I can’t think about one thing I would change

I hope I get another day just the same

When I wake up and I see

The sun shining down on me

That’s when I thank God

For an ordinary day.

Written by Lisa Lee. Her husband Gary shared it with me. When I asked for background, he said:

Our oldest daughter Callie, who is now 14, was a lot younger when Lisa wrote the song. God has blessed us now with a second child, age 3, but at the time, we had the one little girl and had lost a baby a couple of years before. Life was extremely hectic and busy, dealing with all the issues of finances and a growing family. One day she had gotten up and had a great morning with Callie, was literally sitting in a bench swing in the back yard having finished her quiet time and it hit her how blessed we were.

She sat there listening to the birds and reflecting on all the little things Callie would say or do that brought so much joy, and how God never intended us to get so busy that we miss out on the beauty of Creation and relationships with each other and time with Him.

So, she wrote the song and shelved the demo for several years. Jericho Crossing got together as an experiment about a year ago, and now they are tracking an album and finishing a video to another track called “I love you ’cause you live” about the relationship with parent/child and how it relates to God/us.

Lisa did a cut with John Berry about 10 years ago called “Heaven’s Newest Angel,” just after the tragic Westside School shooting in Jonesboro, Arkansas. that cut played on every major news network in the country and on some 300 radio stations.

God loves to use ordinary days. And–would you allow me to say–ordinary people to write exceptional songs and do special works.

Ordinary Days? In a sense, there is no such thing.

Today, after 24 hours of rain, the sun came out. It’s a beautiful and cool Autumn day in New Orleans where I live. Life is everywhere. The trees and flowers and birds and small animals–and the people too!–are alive and flourishing.

I have a theory.

The biggest test for a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ might not be how we handle the toughest assignments in life. The hardest and most telling days may not be the highs or the lows which life hands us from time to time.

It may turn out that the best test any of us ever face is what we do with the ordinary days. How we deal with a day like today is probably a far better guide to how we are and what we stand for.

If you find yourself living in an ordinary town, saddled with an ordinary job, and surrounded by ordinary people, I have a word for you.

It’s a song. Go to youtube and find it sung by Larry Ford. Many have recorded it, but for my money, he “owns” this one.

Little is Much.

In His harvest fields now ripened

There is work for all to do

Hark, for the Master’s voice is calling

To the harvest, calling you.

Does the place you are called to labor

Seem so small and little known?

It is great if God is in it

For He will not forsake His own.

When the conflict here has ended,

And our race on earth is run,

He will say if we are faithful,

“Welcome home, my child, well done.”

Little is much if God is in it.

Labor not for wealth or fame.

There’s a crown and you can win it

If you go in Jesus’ name.

4 thoughts on “God Uses the Ordinary

  1. Well I’ll start by saying we “both” know how very ordinary I am……but I was sent a friend today who was down in the dumps….I was sent a neighbor about 2 months ago…..I have been blessed by both in so many ways already….. it certainly is the ordinary day that can turn your life around. You are still my “favorite all time friend” and my sister’s too……we all love you.Louise

  2. Good word, Bro. Joe! Collin Hansen echoes some similar thoughts over on Crosswalk.com about the egotism of our compassion.

    I know you like to be accurate also. So I thought I’d clarify that after serving a little less than two years for tax evasion from 1992-1994, Leona Helmsley went to meet the Lord’s justice in 2007.

    Keep blessing!

  3. There is a wonderful book named Twelve Ordinay Men. It is a book about the twelve ordinary men that Jesus selected to spread his word. You see what they did.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.