Remembering the Value of the Ordinary
Today is a very special day in the Crawford household. Our first child, Violet, is turning one year old. I thought that I would share with you one of my reflections upon this milestone event. First let me give a little background. I’m sure that my experiences thus far in seminary mirror that of many of my fellow students. I am taking enough class hours to maintain full-time status. I work a few part time jobs. I try to spend some time each day with my wife and child. I try daily to spend time in reading Scripture and prayer. And, if there’s time left, I try to get a little sleep each day. Needless to say, most days it seems that I don’t have enough time to do all that I have set for myself to do. In the midst of such a harried schedule, I become very goal-focused. I will mistreat my body and neglect other responsibilities so that I can attain the light at the end of the tunnel – graduating with a degree. Looking back over the last year, I wish that I had spent more time with my family. It is easy to squander time. So, in one sense, let me simply exhort you not to neglect those things that are most important.
However, I would also like to make a further point that is related to the first. When on a journey to an exciting place, one rarely pays attention to the road one travels to arrive at the destination. This same attitude often marks our entire lives. We just can’t wait for the next major event or milestone – the first birthday, the vacation at the beach, the graduation from college, etc. However, in the midst of pursuing a goal, let us not forget that there are pleasures to be had along the way. In fact, God seems to affirm the pleasures that are to be had in our day-to-day experience. At several points in the book of Ecclesiastes the preacher concludes that the best thing is for one to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. For example, he states, “I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil – this is God’s gift to man” (3:12-13). He goes on to give similar exhortations that man should find joy in the apparently common things given to him by God such as food and drink, work and a wife. Scripture clearly places a value upon such ordinary parts of life. Our calling as Christians is to see all of life as a gift from God, not simply the big, important events. Birthdays are a lot of fun. But there’s also much joy to be had in the other 364 days of the year.