Discovering the Extraordinary in the Ordinary, part 1

I have been reading Reggie McNeal’s A Work of Heart: Understanding how God shapes spiritual leaders recently.  One particular chapter that has challenged my everyday thinking is Chapter 10- “Commonplace: Discovering that the ordinary is extraordinary.”

McNeal’s main point is this–the spiritual leader is one who has been defined not by the great moments, but by the mundane, ordinary life experiences. “Leaders have been shaped through thousands of common decisions and interactions. They have developed kind, caring, generous, servant hearts through the commonplace of life and their response to it.”

He continues that our life stories are being written every day. “The commonplace is the stuff of routine life. The moments when no one is looking. . . . Over time, the candid shots often prove to be more intriguing. They capture life in the making.”  David’s target practice with wild animals helped him defeat Goliath, Moses spent years in the desert shepherding sheep before he led the flock of Israel.

Luke 16:10 says, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (NIV). McNeal writes, “The goal . . . is to raise your awareness of the sacredness of the ordinary.”

How do you view the ordinary? Is your decision-making affected by the weight of the situation? Would you make a different decision if you were in a higher-pressure situation? Is the spiritual leader really developed in the ongoing mundane experiences of life, or is he defined by the “great moments”? What do you think?

Click here to read part 2 

One Reply to “Discovering the Extraordinary in the Ordinary, part 1”

  1. […] In Discovering the Extraordinary in the Ordinary, part 1, we examined the importance of the ordinary, mundane experiences that shape the life of the leader as found in Reggie McNeal’s, A Work of Heart: Understanding how God shapes spiritual leaders.  Continuing in chapter 10, “Commonplace: Discovering that the ordinary is extraordinary,” McNeal points out an intriguing insight from C. S. Lewis, “God whispers to us in our pleasure, but shouts to us in our pain.” […]


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