Ordinary Means of Grace, Part 2

As we continue thinking through the ordinary means of grace, the first thing we should address is the word “ordinary.” Why do we call them that? Doesn’t “ordinary” sound boring? It certainly doesn’t sound very exciting.

First, we should recognize that it’s being used in contrast to “extraordinary." We’re talking about how God works. God certainly can and does work in extraordinary ways. However, Scripture never encourages us to seek after those means of God’s blessing. Instead, he calls us to the ordinary, everyday ways in which he promises to work—through his Word, the sacraments, and prayer.

Second, what we don’t mean by “ordinary” is “mundane” or “unimportant.” God’s Word, the sacraments, and prayer are anything but mundane! They are holy! They are life-giving! But they are how God usually blesses his people, and so we call them ordinary—as in, God ordinarily blesses his people through these means.

So often today, people want God to bless them, but they don’t want to come to him in the way he has invited them—through the ways he ordinarily works. They want the extraordinary. They want the “mountaintop experience.” No one in the Bible had that experience on a regular basis. Even the heroes of the faith spent most of their days in the ordinary pursuit of God.

When we only focus on and hope for God’s extraordinary means of grace, we miss the everyday, life-giving, ordinary ways that God is saying, “I love you, and I will always provide for you.” Trust God in the ordinary means of grace—go to him in his Word embrace him in the sacraments, settle in with him in prayer—and see if he doesn’t meet you through these means and build you up in faith, hope, and love until the day of Christ Jesus’ return.

Pastor Matt