What Is at Stake?

calendar.jpgAn ordinary day may be more than "ordinary."  In fact, much may be at stake.


I was thinking about this yesterday in light of the day, which seemed pretty ordinary.  It was an ordinary Wednesday in many ways.  Much time was spent in preparation for the message this Sunday and for a class that I teach on Wednesday evenings.  Somewhere in the middle of the day were telephone calls (one from my younger daughter, Jamie), lunch with an area minister, a few e-mails sent, a chapter from a book read, and a couple of errands that I had to run.  Late afternoon, I worked out at the gym and then went to a meeting of our leadership group at church.


In many ways, this felt very ordinary.  Yet, in using the word "ordinary" to describe such a day, I don’t want to leave the impression that it was just another "ho-hum" day.  After all, there is much at stake in an ordinary day.


Think for a moment about what is at stake today:


  • Integrity.  Will I do my work with a sense of integrity?  Will I do the right thing or will I do what seems to be in my interest?
  • Mission.  Do I remember today to pay attention to what God is doing around me?  Will I make myself available to God to use for his purposes with the people with whom I come in contact?   Will I remember that people desperately need a relationship with Jesus?
  • Character.  What will I be like today when no one else is looking?  How will I speak about people when they are not present?
  • Family.  Will I be the husband and father I have been called to be?  Will I seek to deepen my relationship with them today?  Or, will I put other matters ahead of them?
  • Being an authentic Christ-follower.  Will I seek to follow Christ — regardless?  Will I have a heart for obedience to Jesus today?
  • Love.  Will I begin my day with the desire to love God and, consequently, love others?  Or, will I be so preoccupied with the events of the day that my life has no sense of these two great priorities?

Yes, I know that more could be said about the day.  I could talk about the need to depend upon God during the day and to trust that God’s Spirit is at work in me throughout the day.  I could talk about the importance of God’s grace both for forgiveness as well as for the power to be what I’ve been called to be today.


Just for today, however, I want to focus on what is at stake.  I have listed a few key words that are reminders of what is at stake on an ordinary day.  What would you add to this list?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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14 thoughts on “What Is at Stake?

  1. I am parenting three teenage daughters, one of which had a ‘boy’ crisis yesterday afternoon.  I diverted our regularly scheduled Wednesday plans and headed to Panera for girlfriend sympathy conversation over bagels and cream cheese.  So I would add to your list …listening.  I could have pressed forward in my day to accomplish tasks, but sitting at a table with my three girls listening to the heartache of young love, I felt the need to stop, listen and connect was mandatory.  If I can spend even moments in direct eye contact and intentional listening, it can make all the difference for what is a stake in my ordinary day.

  2. Wow. Some heavy stuff to think on.  I never thought about how much was at stake every day. I get so focused on the tasks that I think I may be missing the bigger picture.

  3. Wow. Some heavy stuff to think on.  I never thought about how much was at stake every day. I get so focused on the tasks that I think I may be missing the bigger picture.

  4. Kristin,Thanks.  I do think it is important for all of us to not lose sight of the big picture.  I find it is very, very easy to do just that.  The post was intended to help me remember that the day is bigger than one’s "to-do" list.

  5. Cheryl,Good for you!  I really like what you said about stopping in the middle of your day to meet these girls at Panera Bread.  Thanks so much for this.

  6. As you so often do, you really opened up a topic that is "real".  I have actually copied your points from this blog, called it "How will I use this day?" and pasted it beside my computer monitor.  Thanks!

  7. After evaluating my day similar to the way you do, why is it that my failure to measure up in certain areas, looms much larger than the areas in which I think I have succeeded. Am I too introspective – sometimes? Once again – I realize I cannot ever measure up — and that’s why the Savior came! I am once again forgiven and tomorrow is another day to obey and seek to do His Will.  I’m new here and am enjoying reading your blog. Lots to think about on here!

  8. This came at a perfect time; thanks for the thoughts.  I have been struggling with purpose and value in my new place in life post-move and pre-baby, and this is a good reminder that no matter what is involved in each day there are always opportunities to be closer to God and open to his adventure.  Thank you for the reminder that even my seemingly boring days have much at stake.

  9. As usual, Jim, a great post. I think I would add gratitude to your list of what’s at stake in an "ordinary" day. It’s so easy to get caught up in busyness that (at least I don’t) deliberately take time to be thankful for what’s going on, for the chances I have to act in integrity, to give love, to listen, to serve, to spread joy. As a result, I find myself caught up in self-centeredness, thinking of all the things that "have" to get done today, instead of thinking of all the opportunties I have to have an impact. Gratitude allows for that thought-shift, to slow down enough to say, "My life really isn’t about me anyway".
    I’ll write more on my blog, since this could get long!

  10. Hello Alison,Very good.  Gratitude would fit nicely in this list and is very important.  I like what you said regarding it beging a reminder that the day is not about me.

  11. Thanks Jen– Post-move and pre-baby describes a lot of change in everyday life.  I appreciate what you said regarding "boring" days (which we all have) and need to be reminded that much is at stake even on those days.

  12. Karin,Glad you have come here.  You are right.  It is easy to be overwhelmed by a sense of failure at the end of the day.  A couple of suggestions:*Instead of comparing your failures to your successes, look at your failures in light of the tender mercy of God which looms larger than any failure.  Bask in his goodness which is ocean-size.  Consider how his goodness and mercy is so much larger than your failure.*You might pray that daily introspection will only serve to give you an accurate picture of yourself (like looking in the mirror to check you appearance).  However, the evil one will use something good like this to condemn and accuse, when instead we need to be drawn to God’s grace.   

  13. Memories.  What am I doing with my children/grandchildren that will build the kind of memories that will help sustain them in years to come?