Don’t Be Ordinary — Be Extraordinary

Behold, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth:
Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your salvation comes;
behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.”
And they shall be called The Holy People, the redeemed of the Lord;
and you shall be sought out, a city not forsaken.

When a person receives a gift, the natural response to that gift ought to be gratitude. We might even look for a chance to repay the favor. We meet kindness with kindness. We don’t meet kindness with evil. 

When we accept the extraordinary gift that is Jesus Christ, what is our response? Do we raise our game and become extraordinary? Or are we content with just being ordinary? 

Imagine someone gave you an unbelievable sum of money — let’s say $100 million. What would your response be to them? You’d probably call them every day to thank them for the life of luxury you now enjoy. You’d send them postcards from every exotic place you visited. You’d have them over for dinner often. You certainly would not ignore them.

Gifts from God

Christ has given us three amazing gifts. 


First, He has given us life. He has brought us into being. Each morning we wake up, we receive the gift of breath. When we go outside, we experience warmth, wind, and the beauty of the sky. Our minds awaken and begin to make decisions and problem solve. Our hands start working; whether it is combing our hair, checking our phone, typing on a computer, or cooking. Our legs take thousands of steps each day, carrying us wherever we desire to go. A whole host of things happen each time we sit down to have a meal — between teeth and tongue, swallowing and digesting. We don’t think of the amazing things our body can do, merely because we are alive. Just to be alive today is something extraordinary, and yet we treat most days in an ordinary and pedestrian manner. We take them for granted. And when they don’t go the exact way we want, we become angry and agitated.

Eternal Life

The second thing Christ has given us is eternal life. Follow after Christ and life will never end. After our time on earth is done, our life gets extended eternally. Our life on earth then is not a slow march towards nothing, but a journey to something even greater. If just being alive on earth is extraordinary, then heaven is going to exceed the extraordinary quality of life on earth exponentially.

The Extraordinary

Unfortunately, not every moment of our life on earth is extraordinary. There are moments of pain and sadness, which are part of our fallen world, no matter who we are. And because each of us is a fallen being, we each have moments when we sin, when our behavior resembles anything but extraordinary. Which leads us to the third gift that Christ has given us—a way to infuse extraordinary things into our ordinary and oftentimes difficult lives, so that we can be preserved and sustained until everlasting life. 

We’ve discussed how in the sacramental life of the Church, the Holy Spirit takes ordinary substances and circumstances and makes them extraordinary through His grace. Bread and wine are ordinary substances that we can buy or make. Presented on the Holy Altar of our churches during the Divine Liturgy, we call the Holy Spirit down on them and these ordinary substances become extraordinary. Bread and wine become the Body and the Blood of Christ. And then we, the ordinary people, are allowed to touch these extraordinary substances. We are privileged to have Christ come into our bodies. This is extraordinary when you think about it. What is our response to this extraordinary experience? To go out and remain ordinary? Or to meet an extraordinary experience with an extraordinary response? 

Becoming Extraordinary

It’s as if Christ has given us the $100 million referred to earlier. He has given us the means to have an extraordinary life. He has given us an extraordinary destination. And He has given us the ability to become extraordinary again even after we have fallen and become ordinary. Like the example of the benefactor who gifted someone $100 million, we should be perpetually thankful; we should be checking in with Christ from all the places He has blessed us to go (home, work, travel), and we should choose to “dine” often with Him in worship. He has even provided the meal for us: the Holy Eucharist. 

In our fallen nature, we might be tempted to either secularize Christ, to think of Him as ordinary like us, or to compartmentalize Him and keep Him as a “part” of our life, rather than its central focus. Both are incorrect. Christ has given us the extraordinary gifts of life, eternal life, and the means to get through this life. Our response should be extraordinary. We should be motivated to be more like Him, more perfect and less sinful. And we should be with Him, in Him and for Him at all times, just as He is in us, with us and for us at all times. We must meet His extraordinary blessings by living exemplary and extraordinary lives, not in a material sense, but in a spiritual sense. I’m reminded of the popular Christian song, “Awesome God.” If He is an awesome God, and extraordinary God, then as His followers, we must be awe-filled and extraordinary also.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Thy name in all the earth! 

Thou whose glory above the heavens is chanted
by the mouths of babes and infants,
Thou hast founded a bulwark because of Thy foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers,
the moon and the stars which Thou hast established;
what is man that Thou art mindful of him,
and the son of man that Thou dost care for him? 

Yet Thou hast made him little less than God,
and dost crown him with glory and honor. 
Thou hast given him dominion over the works of Thy hands;
Thou has put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the sea. 

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Thy name in all the earth!

Don’t be ordinary in your Christian walk. Be extraordinary!

+Fr. Stavros