We, who suppose that we “judge righteous judgment,” are, like the Pharisees, just as bad as anyone else about the things we claim to detest, in this case, judging. If a brother seldom speaks in Bible class, he didn’t study his lesson, right? Or his heart isn’t in his worship. If I stop at another congregation when I am out of town and the singing isn’t loud, and the prayers have a lot of common phrases in them, and the preaching isn’t dynamic, then they are the worst excuse for a church I’ve ever seen. So much for “righteous judgment.”
The more I study the scriptures, the more I see quiet people living lives that would be considered normal in their day and time. I don’t mean they would not have been different in their words and actions than the godless pagan they might live next to—I mean great deeds and feats of faith and bravery were not their claim to fame. They simply lived to and with their God every day, making choices based upon their belief in Him, talking about His promises in casual conversation, assuming as a given that their hope was not baseless.
When was the last time any one of us had to choose between death and serving God? I know some places where that may be the case, but no one in this country has faced that trial, and I am the first to thank God for that and pray that it continue. Does that make me a sorry excuse for a Christian? Maybe that’s why so many think they must raise a ruckus about everything—they have to show their “faith” in some sort of blatant manner, instead of being satisfied—and grateful—that they can live a life of steady devotion day after day after routine day. Sometimes that quiet steadiness takes a lot more strength, and certainly more endurance, than one quick flash in the pan act of courage.
So here’s to the ordinary Christian. He loves his wife “as his own body,” serves her faithfully, even when the years have diminished her outward beauty and increased her outward girth.
He trains his children, not just about God, but about being a man. He teaches them how to work, how to play, and how to survive in an unfriendly world. He shows them patience and mercy, the traits His Heavenly Father showed him.
He works for his employer “as unto the Lord,” giving the boss no need to worry about his stealing either the business’s supplies or time--a day’s work for a day’s pay, and the willingness to throw in some unremunerated extra time and effort simply because it’s needed.
He sees to the good of his neighbors, offering a helping hand, the loan of equipment, the gift of sharing good things that have come his way. He shows them the Lord he serves in the way he treats them.
He handles the trials of life, not as if they make him special and deserving, but as if they happen to all, knowing he deserves even worse for his part in the sin that contaminated the world. He never allows them to affect his faith in God or his desire to serve that God. He simply keeps on going, like that famous bunny.
And so he may not talk a lot. He may not jump up and down and raise his hands high in the air. He may not be caught shedding a tear during a song or a prayer. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t mean every word of what he sings or prays, or have deep feelings of love and gratitude, and shame on anyone who judges otherwise. Jacob worshipped, leaning on his staff, we are told in Heb 11:21. What? No hallelujahs? I wonder how some today might have judged that.
In fact, a whole church full of such men might not rise to the ideal for some who need outward show to “get anything out of” the worship. What makes them think they are better than another who can motivate himself with his own quiet, inward thoughts? Isn’t it a good thing, that Someone Else is doing the judging?
As to that “ordinary Christian,” he isn’t really very ordinary at all.
…for man looks on the outward appearance, but Jehovah looks on the heart,
1 Sam 16:7.