Micah 6:8 reads, “and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness (mercy), and to walk humbly with your God?” For good reasons, this passage is brought up and meditated upon by Tony Merida in his book Ordinary. A push back from the call to be radical, Merida shows Christ-followers gospel ministry is not from a select few. He reiterates Steve Timmis and Tim Chester in saying, “Most gospel ministry involves ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality” (Merida 9). This runs against sensationalism but it does remind the Christian every day is a day to live for God. As Paul Tripp has said, “If God doesn’t rule your mundane, He doesn’t rule you.” So, what does it look like to like ordinarily while making an impact for God? Tony Merida lays out a 5-fold approach: (1) Neighbor Love, (2) Kingdom Hospitality, (3) Care for the Vulnerable, (4) Courageous Advocacy, and (5) God-Centered Humility. In all of this, there must be a balance between gospel proclamation and social action.
Practical and Biblical
Ordinary is practical to the Christian life and faithful to the biblical text. It looks to Scripture to fully grasp what love truly is (chapter 1) and what hospitality looks like (chapter 2). The book then looks throughout the Bible to show God’s concern and commands for those who cannot help themselves and are found vulnerable (chapters and 4). The book wraps up showing all this needs to be done with God-centered humility (chapter 5).
Challenging and Fruitful Takeaways
I greatly appreciated Merida’s correlation between the good news and good deeds when he said, “Good deeds follow the good news, but good deeds cannot merit eternal life” (Merida 22). Good deeds are important in the life of the Christian but they do need to be put in their proper place. The section on hospitality really opened my eyes as I was called to open the Word of God, open my heart, and open the door to serving others. The most convicting, and I pray fruitful, part of this discussion was Merida’s application in caring for the vulnerable: “Every Christian must do something for the orphan” (Merida 80). It may not be adoption but all Christ-followers are called to care for orphans, even as God is called the “Father of the fatherless”.
In sum, the call to be Ordinary is the call to the Christian life. Intentionality is huge in forming relationships and acting on convictions. Tony Merida shows us such things are necessary in order to spread the gospel. May we go about proclaiming the Good News while performing good deeds.
I received this book for free from B & H Publishing Group via Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the resource.