Celebrating the Ordinary Guy

P1010813He wasn’t the CEO of a billion-dollar corporation, a professional football player, or an astronaut. He wasn’t a politician, a lawyer, a professor, an accountant, or a top-of-the-chart musician. He didn’t cure an incurable disease, write a best-selling novel, or discover the world’s next revolutionary invention or scientific concept. He didn’t appear on the evening news with Tom Brokaw and he didn’t make the front page of the New York Times, the local paper, or the latest edition of People magazine. He didn’t have a college degree, he was never garnished with honors and accolades, and he never left his hometown. Some may label him unsuccessful by their standards, others may consider him ordinary, but after years of observation I’ve come to know there is more to his story than one might imagine.

While many of his friends and family graduated from high school and left that small, Pennsylvania coal-mining town to pursue other dreams and adventures, he was content to stay behind and keep the lights of home shining brightly and to change the world in more conventional ways. He took a job with a local car dealership – carefully washing, waxing, and detailing the latest arrivals for the showroom floor and making the dream of “taking to the open road” an appealing reality for many. He took the occasional out-of-town trip with a local mover, relocating professional clients up and down the east coast as they pursued new opportunities and horizons. He drove a delivery truck for the local feed mill, delivering grains and goods to farms and stores and feeding households across the state. He enlisted as a member of the local volunteer fire department, protecting and serving family, friends, neighbors, and businesses throughout the valley, when fire and flood threatened or stole from years of hard work and labor. He later joined the workforce of the state highway department, where he blazed new trails and maintained thousands of miles of highways so thousands more could reach their dreams and destinations. He eventually married his sweetheart – my mom.

My dad is an ordinary guy. He is steady, unchanging, and low-key. I never knew his intentions to be self-consuming. He was never out to make a name for himself, but to provide for his family, make our lives a little bit better, and to serve his friends and neighbors. He went out of his way to help my sister and me reach our aspirations. He worked long, tedious hours under the hot summer sun, and through some very cold winter nights. He drove us to scout meetings, airshows, church camp, vacations, and college. He even sacrificed a meal at work one night so I could have a new football. I often wonder if Jim Croce knew my father when he penned the lines to his infamous song, I Got A Name: “…and I carry it with me like my Daddy did, but I’m livin’ the dream that he kept hid.”

Jesus saw the value of the ordinary guy – in fact, he hired 12 of them. Fisherman, tax-collectors, publicans, zealots, and tradesmen possessed the necessary world-changing skills applicable for the calling to the Great Commission of the New Testament Church. They weren’t necessarily all educated individuals, but each of them were created with a unique ability to spearhead the world-wide revelation of a timeless truth.

As we celebrate Father’s Day, I am reminded of the ordinary fathers who are out there today. They may not have an important title or fabulous job description. They’re not flashy or seeking public approval. They’re steady, unchanging, low-key. They’re busy serving their family, friends, neighbors, and communities in exceptionally inconspicuous ways. Today we celebrate you – ordinary guys helping others reach their lifetime dreams and eternal destinations in extraordinary times.

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