Flipping through the latest Christian Book Distributors catalog I noticed a series of books and studies by one time football coach Tony Dungy. I have never read any of these books and to be honest, I didn’t even know they existed. They may be great books that God is using for His glory and the growth of His kingdom. This is not a critique of the material itself. Rather this is about a thought that spun through my head because of the title. The title of his books and studies are all based around the word “Uncommon.” The main titles were “Dare to be Uncommon” and “Uncommon: The Path to Significance.”
The reason these titles caught me is because of a thought I have had lately that is the exact opposite. I wonder if people who follow Jesus are willing to be common. Would Christians ever “Dare to be Common?” Are the followers of Jesus willing to not have their name in lights? Are we willing to blend into the masses of people who simply follow Jesus with our lives?
I recently read of a preacher who took a vow of obscurity. He committed to not writing any articles for magazines, not doing any interviews, not posting a podcast, not speaking at any other Churches or conferences. He simply wanted to preach and teach at his local congregation and that was it. No recognition beyond the walls of his own Church. I know of another pastor who was making a wave nationally. His blog was incredible, his Church was growing and he was being invited to speak at every conference. In a move some might see as crazy he left that Church and took a position as pastor in an inner city Church. He stopped writing, speaking and walked away from the spotlight. He said something like, “Anyone can serve in the spotlight but only a few want to serve the inner city.”
How many of us are willing to be common? Could we be ordinary people who serve without recognition or reward? To have our lives not make headlines, not have a huge numbers of followers or “likes,” rather to just live out our lives of faith in common everyday ways.
Somehow we have come to think of fame as being the same as faithfulness. We think of fame as being the same as having an impact. Those are simply not true. Just because we are common or unknown does not mean we have less of an impact or we are being less faithful. In reality, it might mean the exact opposite. Some of the greatest people I know are not known outside of their congregation. These people serve the Lord day in and day out without any glory. These people teach children, lead worship, clean, organize, keep the books, make copies and do a hundred different little things each week without any special recognition. The Church at its best is made up of people who are willing to be common.