I try to imagine what it must have been like for those shepherds who, we are told in Luke 2, were watching their sheep by night. I wonder how many uneventful times they had done this very thing. Watching sheep is what they do. Sheep must be protected….night after, boring, night. Occasionally, a wolf may come around, making for an eventful evening under the stars.
And the list goes on…. Christianity in our day lusts for the spectacular under every rock. But, what if yours and/or my Christian walk with God is just…. average? What if the spectacular, as we define it, avoids you like the plague? Are we to think we are something of a “lesser” kind of follower of Christ?
2 Quick Examples of UN-spectacular followers of Christ:
1.) Simeon of Luke 2.
So, tell me…. who is this Simeon guy? What great things can you tell me about him? What has he done for the Christian faith? Did he write scripture, or heal a blind man, or perhaps he preached and 1,000’s came to saving faith? Surely, he did something spectacular to make his way into the Word of God.
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God…..”
(Luke 2:25-28 ESV)
This is all we have on this guy Simeon. No record of the miraculous or radical faith. Simeon is anything but spectacular. I am sure you and I have read this story many times without even pausing to consider this man.
And I am wondering……. Why?
Well, Simeon is not amazing enough to capture our attention.
So, now nearing the end of his life Simeon holds Jesus in his arms and…. (ready for this?) HE BLESSES GOD! Are you kidding me?!? I try, in vain, to imagine the joy of this moment for the faithful plodder, Simeon.
Simeon has been faithful. He has consistently waited on God to move like His Word said He would in Malachi 3.
At first blush, I think not! But upon closer and further review, nothing could be further from the truth. You see, in our lust for the “spectacular” today we seem to be missing something of what it means to follow Christ.
Let’s reconsider the Simeon. Simeon is a man who waited on God his entire life! He is surrounded by apostasy. The religious leaders of the day are leading people away from God, in the name of God.
This is where we find Simeon. He is trusting in the Word of God that was given to the prophet 400 years prior! He is faithfully….. waiting! Perhaps waiting is more spectacular than we first thought! When no move of God is taking place, Simeon waits and waits and waits some more. When no hope of a Messiah is before him, he waits. Why? Because God’s Word promised a Savior would come! Now, when life has nearly passed him by and he now is nearing his own death, Simeon is found faithfully doing what? Waiting for the Savior! Wow!
If that is not spectacular, what is?
O, that it would be said of you and me that we faithfully waited for the Lord to our dying day!
How unspectacular is Timothy’s conversion!?!
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.
(2 Timothy 1:5 ESV)
Timothy, it seems, was taught the gospel at a young age. He has a gospel heritage that he grew up in that came from momma and grandma. What a gift! But, Timothy’s conversion is not exactly a “go to” conversion story. We would rather look to Saul, who is persecuting the church, knocked off his donkey, meets Jesus, blinded, etc…! Now that is a conversion story, right?
Well, yes. But, is Paul’s conversion any more spectacular than the next guy? Does Paul’s conversion require more grace or more substitution or more of Jesus than Timothy’s? When we create these categories of what is and is not spectacular, are we not dismissing the spectacular hand of God, the very glory of God?
It matters how we think about these things. If waiting for Jesus to come the first time (Simeon) is unspectacular then waiting for Him to come the second time (me and you) will be plain vanilla as well. If your salvation story is unspectacular (in your mind), your view of Christ’s sacrifice for you will lack luster as well.
Join with me and pause today:
Thanking God for your average Christian life, seeking to follow Christ to your dying day.
Thanking God for your conversion. He saved you, me, Paul, and Timothy from the: “wages of sin is death…”