To bring God glory and honor, the Christian doesn’t have to change the world or do all sorts of spectacular things for the good of the Kingdom. A follower of Christ can serve the Lord well in an obscure, behind-the-scenes, everyday manner (whether trimming lawns or teaching driver’s education). Christians can please God without ever doing anything special or extraordinary. To live “a quiet life” (1 Tim. 2.2) is to live a Christian life.
So argues Matthew Redmond in The God of the Mundane. In a world of fame, glamor, stardom, and super-sizing, this book broadcasts a message every ordinary Christian needs to hear: you can serve God well right where you’re at. “This little book is not a call to do nothing. It is a call to be faithful right where you are, regardless of how mundane that place is” (loc. 1102).
“It is encouraging that there is a God of the mundane, because lives are just that – mundane. This is good news for those who have tried trying to live fantastically. And this is spectacular news for those who have been tempted to think their lives escape the notice of God because they are decidedly not spectacular” (loc. 245).
Redmond isn’t ambiguous in speaking of vocation: “[The Apostle Paul] never asks [the recipients of his epistles] to stop being who they are. He never challenges them to go anywhere. We don’t even get hints that lead us to believe he is making them feel guilty for living in comparative comfort compared to his lack of it. That’s weird. And it’s weird because this is so common in our pulpits and in conferences held for zealous college students” (loc. 291).
I appreciate Redmond’s breakdown of how the guilt of doing nothing in life works:
Stage One: I feel guilty about doing nothing. Stage Two: Therefore I must get on with something obviously significant. Stage Three: Now we judge others by this standard. If they are not doing something obviously significant then we automatically say to ourselves or to them and certainly to others, ‘They are not serious about their faith! If they were, they would do…’” (loc. 712).
What is Redmond’s radical call? There is no radical call. That’s the point.
“Be nobody special. Do your job. Take care of your family. Clean your house. Mow your yard. Read your Bible. Attend worship. Pray. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Love your spouse. Love your kids. Be generous. …Expect no special treatment. And do it all quietly” (loc. 1096).
I highly recommend this book for average Christians who think they are doing nothing for Christ. If you feel like your job in hospital billing, irrigation, or basketball coaching isn’t good enough, get this book. The God of the Mundane is sort of a modern-day application of Luther’s excellent discussion of vocation coupled with his theology of suffering (not glory!). This book might go against the flow of some things you’ve heard in evangelical circles, but it’s a good counterpoint that is definitely needed. (By the way, you can get it for under $5 on Kindle.)
Matthew Redmond, The God of the Mundane (n.l. Kalos Press, 2012).
rev shane lems
18 Replies to “The God of the Mundane”
Reblogged this on Solomon's Porch – Nashville and commented:
The Reformed Reader is another blog I’ve been reading and enjoying lately. Subscribe and enjoy the wonderful and thoughtful content Shane produces. Blessings!
Thank you Shane, this sounds like a very good read.
This is a great review and a great read! Thanks for reviewing.
~Director of Communications, Kalos Press
Reblogged this on Through the Eyes of This Calvinist and commented:
A Book Teaser
Reblogged this on talkingtoanonymous and commented:
God is so gracious to me. He always puts a timely post to encourage me. I have been bothered for quite some time wondering how my mundane life ever gives glory to God. I even discussed it with my husband last night. I was going to write a whiny post about how I felt but this lifted my head and my heart. I thought I’d share it in case there is someone else who wonders how their mundane life glorifies the Lord.
Very good book
As a stay-at-home mom who homeschooled my three children for 17 years, I often would feel like I wasn’t serving God enough in church or other activities outside the home, but along the way there were people that God used to remind me that my children WERE my ministry, my mission field, during that season of my life, This sounds like a good book for every Christian lay person who loves the Lord and desires to serve Him, in whatever way He calls them to. I will be sharing this review on my site – thanks!
I am currently reading through 1 Kings in my daily devotions. King David wants to build God’s Temple but as we all know the story it’s not God’s will that this be done during his tumultuous reign but in the reign of his son Solomon to whom God has given “peace on every side”.
OT God’s Temple= NT God’s Church. Both are to be built in an environment of “quietness”. Ok got it so far.
However, doesn’t all this lack some sense of urgency ? Some sense of urgency that it seems to me the people of God should have in the world? Why do I say that ?
I say it because of a very central theological premise and it is this : that anyone who does not know Jesus as Lord and Saviour is eternally lost. Period. i know there may be some with liberal tendencies reading this who will not agree with me and harbour some hope that those who have not heard will somehow be saved in the end. I do not believe this. I do not believe the Bible gives any wiggle room on it.
And so having said all this I am finding it difficult if not impossible to reconcile the sobering reslities of man’s condition with an acceptance of the “mundane” as this book calls it or to “quietness” as the Bible calls it.
It seems to me our consistent response to the lostness of our fellow humanity cannot be the comfort and ease of quietness.
It seems to me each and every true believer needs be zealously at work with any and all of the resources at his disposal for the work of evangelism and discipleship.
Patently not everybody is. In fact, most are getting on with their quiet and mundane lives and the Bible even gives them warrant to do so as this book and review seem to be indicating.
How do you reconcile this?
“How do you reconcile this?”
By attending to your mundane responsibilities “urgently” and “zealously” irrespective of how unspectacular or unimportant it may appear to the world.
This, I think, is a more useful witness to unbelievers.
In my experience, it’s the “on-fire, purpose-driven” Christian that does more harm than good – good intentions notwithstanding, of course.
If proclaiming the gospel is the be-all and end-all, why does Paul never command us to do so?
“It seems to me each and every true believer needs be zealously at work with any and all of the resources at his disposal for the work of evangelism and discipleship.”
It may “seem” to you but Paul never said such a thing. Not did any of the other Apostles in their letters to churches. Was there less urgency then? I love when I hear of men and women with such an urgency. But I abhor it when such a burden is placed on the shoulders of others. I don’t think it too strong to say it goes beyond the message of the Scriptures.
I loved that book. I found myself after I read it months ago- and still to this day- doing “mundane” things around the house all day long and rejoicing that I am “pushing back the fall”.
I don’t think there is any correlation with a sense of urgency and concern for the lost, and lack of quietness. In fact I would say the opposite. I am reminded of Lloyd Jones in his sermons on revival that one obstacle to revival in the church is busy busy activity and a failure to spend extended time in quiet meditation on the word, and prayer. As he puts it, we are busy and shallow instead of quiet and deep and prayerful. True urgency leads first to prayer that God will move.
My husband and I are actively interceeding for missions in various countries, as well as the current situation in Egypt and Syria, and the sex slave trade. We also look around and see the flood of filth here in the USA. We feel this nation is doomed without revival. We go to prayer meetings that are poorly attended and know very few persons devoted to prayer. But everybody is sure busy, often with “ministry”.
Paul did beg for prayer:
“The Apostle Paul’s own prayer requests provides us with a guide for praying for missions and missionaries that are kingdom focused.
Open doors for the gospel to be heard — Colossians 4:3
Wisdom to speak gospel message clearly — Ephesians 6:19
No fear in sharing gospel in a hostile world — Ephesians 6:19
Spread of the gospel — 2 Thessalonians 3:1
Receptivity of the gospel — 2 Thessalonians 3:1
Deliverance from evil men — 2 Thessalonians 3:2
Acceptable service — Romans 15:31
Safe travel to enable joyful fellowship in Christ — Romans 15:32”
Its nice to know that being home with kids, without money to travel to exotic destinations that desperately need Americans for a week to come and minister to them (uh huh) doesn’t mean your boring mundane life doesn’t matter and isn’t doing much for the kingdom. Maybe Matt Redmond didn’t intend his book to inspire prayer, but it worked that way for me.
Lynnie – thanks for the great comments. Amen!
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Reblogged this on As You Go and commented:
Check out this review:
Wow thank you for this review. Seems like a needed and interesting book in light of all the humanistic hype creeping into the church of self-centered “purpose driven” life Christianity lite stuff, etc.
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