My friend riding in my car with me turned and looked at the vehicle passing us on the right. He saw a man with long hair, a beard, and the classic visage often imagined by modern portrait painters as Jesus. Without even thinking how funny it sounded, he said, “Hey, Jesus drives a minivan!”
I thought, “Yes, he does.” Jesus doesn’t drive a Ferrari, a BMW, or even a lowly mustang. Jesus drives a minivan. Why? Because everywhere Jesus goes, he is taking a group of people with him. He is always saying to people, “Come; follow me.” He’s not a solitary motorcycle rider either, although a lot of bikers love Jesus today.
Another reason Jesus drives a minivan is because it is so ordinary. Not everything the Son of God is doing today is spectacular or dramatic. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe God can do wonders and perform miracles. He answers our prayers in a powerful way. I’ve seen it and I expect to continue to see it. There is a real spiritual side to life that we can touch anytime because the kingdom of God is at hand.
But if we relegate God to the exceptional, to the extraordinary, to the “Hail-Mary touchdown pass,” then we miss out on the grace of life that comes to us from every-day normality. God is God of the usual as well as the unusual.
Calendars, alarm clocks, appointments for lunch, sweeping out the garage, folding the laundry, being faithful at work … this is part of God’s kingdom in this present age.
Most of my walk with Christ today is not spectacular. It is nitty-gritty ordinary human obedience on a day-to-day basis. Most of the things Jesus shows me don’t have anything to do with walking on water or raising the dead. He shows me how to quit complaining and instead to be grateful. He deals with me about my carnal need to be noticed, my unhealthy desire for recognition, and he tells me to simply serve, to keep my head down low, and to be obedient.
Walking with Christ is more about faithfulness than flashiness. It is like a wife who dutifully does her chores, exhausts her energy caring for the kids and her husband, and still remain cheerful at the end of the day. It is about a preacher who digs into the word and feeds God’s people even when his own soul feels dry and his life is beset by challenges that no one knows about.
Being a God-lover, my heart overflows with gratitude and praise, but I still have to put one foot in front of the other, show up for work on time, and pull the weeds out of the flowerbed. But in the midst of ordinary routine, God shows up.
Jesus is the Son of God. He arose from the dead. He is King of the universe. He will soon return to rule the nations. But today he is in disguise, hiding in plain sight. That could be Jesus right next to you! Can you see him? Or were you too distracted?
Ron Wood is a pastor, writer, and former resident of Meridian. Contact him by email at email@example.com.