"...Aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands..."
(1 Thessalonians 4:11)
There's a push these days to be radical. It's a response to all the apathy and laziness. A well-meant response, I'm sure. Well-meant, but dangerous.
Don't get me wrong. Sometimes God calls his children to very real pain. The martyrs. The Colosseum. Missionaries. Prison. Torture. "When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die." (Bonhoffer.)
But the crucial point is that we don't have to suffer in order to be faithful.
We don't have to search out hardships.
We are not failures just because we don't live an extreme life.
This pressure to be "radical", in the David Platt sense of the word, is making young people today feel ashamed to get married and have children early, to work an average job, to save and invest. In order to be virtuous, you have to go and love the people on the other side of the planet. Loving your neighbor doesn't count anymore.
Radical, they say. We want to be radical Christians. We want to do big things. Missional things. Things that mean up-rooting ourselves, because there's no way we can be meaningful Christians when we live in the suburbs. That ordinary kind of life is just so utterly. . . un-glamourous.
The point we miss is that sometimes the "ordinary" things are radical.
When marriage is under assault, love is radical,
When all around us people are unhappily trying to be extraordinary, ordinary is radical.
When the world is noisy, quiet living is radical.
When people are fragmented and individualistic, family is radical.
Simple deeds of ordinary people - Sometimes that's what it takes to keep the darkness at bay. "He who'd walk a mile just to hold an empty hand, knows what it means to be a wealthy man." (And So It Goes).
In our culture, living quiet lives, working with our hands, and raising God-lovers, are some of the most extraordinary things we can do. It's just being faithful. To God. To people. Faithfulness is radical.
"Pray for those who persecute you."
"The last shall be first."
"The humble shall be exalted."
"Love your neighbor."
Be that kind of radical.