The Power of the “Regular” Christian Life

by Roger Sappington on

Articles 3 min read
1 Corinthians 13:1–3

Over the past few weeks, I have attended the funerals of two Christian women. One funeral was for a dear member of our church; the other was for the 96-year-old mother of one of my friends. As I listened to the testimonies shared by family members at both services, I was struck by the fact that these two women were remarkable and yet both were “regular” people. Neither had any name recognition outside of their clans. Neither had achieved a substantial measure of “success” of which the world would give account. They had lived “regular” Christian lives, and yet they were remarkable.

The word remarkable means “worthy of attention.” And, maybe it’s only at our funerals that our lives can truly be judged as remarkable or not. For what I heard shared about these two godly ladies was something for which each person in those two services took note – they had loved so well. They had shown consistent care, kindness, and generosity to their family, friends, and even strangers. Love had been on display through their lives over the decades and it had changed the lives of the people who knew them, especially those who had been closest to them.

Many of us want to make an impact in the world. We desire to be agents of change. We long for influence beyond what we presently have. And, though this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s not always a good thing either. Sometimes I think we’re scared that our “regular” Christian lives will be ones that weren’t well spent. Yet I have no doubt that each person at those two memorial services left praying, “Lord, make me a little more like Dottie, a little more like Julia.”

So, what did the “regular” Christian life look like for these two disciples of Jesus? Interestingly, both of their life stories had these elements:

  1. They were active members of their churches, loving their brothers and sisters in Christ.
  2. They used their gifts to serve others, demonstrating the love of Christ in tangible ways.
  3. They worked hard to build unity in their families, revealing that the love of God is enduring.
  4. They looked in other people’s eyes and made them feel special, showing that God’s love is reserved for all of his image bearers.
  5. They put others’ needs before their own, illustrating that Christian love is sacrificial.

Back in the ‘80s Huey Lewis and the News recorded a song entitled, “The Power of Love.” I think they were simply borrowing from the Apostle Paul, who said that nothing in all creation was as powerful as love:  

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing … Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

So, if you want to change the world, love a little more, especially the souls who sleep under your roof, and the children you wrangle on Sunday mornings as you serve, and the people who are a part of your small group, and the ones the world has ceased to love. And, maybe if you and I are so blessed, in a few years or a few decades, as people are remembering us at our funerals those who sit in attendance will hear of the ways God was greatly glorified by our love and they’ll pray, “Lord, make me a little more like _________.”

About the Author

Dr. Roger Sappington (D. Min. Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, M. Div. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the Executive Pastor of Central Bible Church and the author of 30 Days in Exile.