Stepping through the front door this afternoon, the air greeted me with a sweet and complex aroma of green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and spices. Linda was canning a batch of her chili sauce, as delectable a condiment as you'll find anywhere. While I was in Erie visiting a gentleman in the hospital there, Linda was hard at work making my life more pleasant and enjoyable.
St. Paul exhorted the Thessalonian Christians to "aspire to lead a quiet life, to attend to your own business, and to work with your hands..." (1 Thess. 4:11). For all his passion to spread the Gospel to the nations, Paul seems to have understood that for most people, living a quiet, ordinary life was as honoring to God as his standing before Caesar, witnessing to the reality of the resurrection. For those whose lives seem shuttered away in some God-forsaken little corner of the world, this is good news indeed! Especially as it immediately precedes his ringing description of Christ's return where he descends from heaven with a shout, greeted by both the living and the dead in Christ. Welcoming Christ is not the special privilege of the sainted few, but is given even to the most humble and unnoticed believers who faithfully and quietly go about their work. Having invested most of my life in a small, backwater village, I am grateful for these few words Paul slipped into his letter so many years ago. They remind me that ordinary life matters to God, and that he notices and cares for small, ordinary people. As Abraham Lincoln once said, "God must love the common man; he made so many of them." Yes, he did. And Yes, he does.