My first book to read for 2015 was a great one to spur me on to good deeds in the coming year. Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down by Tony Merida challenged my view of mercy ministries and gave me the desire to serve others in the ordinary routine of life. He presents Job as a biblical example of a man of justice from Job 29.
“Ordinary is a call to, like Job, wear justice. It’s a call to live with a social conscience at all times. It’s a call to care for the vulnerable, not merely on mission trips, but in the ordinariness of our days. It’s a call to conduct our everyday affairs with honesty and integrity. It’s a call to work the character of God deeply into our hearts so that we will care about what God cares about.”
If the Gospel and mercy were each side of a scale I always believed sharing the Gospel had to outweigh any type of mercy ministry. We should not neglect one for the other but let there be a balance.
“Mercy ministry is about alleviating suffering. Those who want to alleviate suffering should want to alleviate more than temporary suffering. They should also want to alleviate eternal suffering, which can only come through faith in Christ.”
The author challenges his readers to get involved personally in the lives that God brings in our path and to be an advocate for social injustices such as lack of orphan care, sex-trafficking, abortion and other oppressions around the world.
Tony closes with a look at the life of William Wilberforce and his devotion to the Gospel and prayer. He calls us to meditate on God’s word and seek Him faithfully in prayer crying out for the orphan, widow and oppressed.
“God-centered humility and Christlike sacrifice stem from one who is walking with God daily through prayer and biblical meditation. Wilberforce was that kind of person. That’s the kind of person God uses to do everyday justice.”
How is God calling you to be ordinary in a world of suffering?