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  • Christine Vogelsang

Common Problem - Uncommon Solution


“Here, Mom. For you!”

“Oh no! Whose flowers have you been picking? I can’t have you helping yourself to someone’s garden!”

It was our children’s first day of school in California, and they had walked the few blocks home… and had become lost. Fortunately a fire station was just down the street, and a friendly firefighter had come to their aid. Standing there on my porch, she assured me that they weren’t common criminals. The flowers they had plucked were found everywhere along the walks in the common areas for everyone to enjoy.

Recently a friend who had moved to the Midwest from California was gushing about the beautiful spring flowers. There were fields of her new favorite, a white, lacey bloom. When she posted a picture, there it was… a common weed, Queen Anne’s Lace. I’d grown up with those “flowers” and quickly set her straight on their value.

Common can sometimes be boring. There’s nothing unusual or exceptional about it. It happens all the time. How deflating it is when you have an interesting bit of news or information to share and someone responds, “Everyone knows that.”

However, it’s wonderful to have things in common with our friends. That’s what makes us friends! We also seem to understand one another better when we all speak a common language.

It’s nice to hear that something has been implemented for the "common good" too. That means everyone gets to share in the benefits.

Some societies draw a line between the nobility and the rest of their world… the common folk, the commoners. I always find it amusing to see more common sense coming from the everyday people than those who lord their status over others.

But no one wants to be annoyed by a common nuisance, and we all get tired of dealing with the same old common problems that never seem to find solutions. The common cold is something we strive to avoid having in common with anyone.

There is another kind of common that implies a lack of anything worthy. A common thief is an obvious example. But some people who are coarse, ill mannered, and lack any scruples are certainly common in the least complimentary sense. Often times we are faced with those who display not a shred of common decency, and we wonder how they survive in this world.

Our God understands common. It’s the opposite of holy, and anything not holy is unclean. Well that pretty much applies to us all, no matter what our position in life or our accomplishments, however noteworthy. Even my temptations and sins are commonplace. Although there are new ways to display those sins, they all stem from our common fall from grace (I Corinthians 10:13).

That’s not the common ground I like to be on. It’s so much more enjoyable to read about the early church that shared everything, had everything in common. I like the reminder that the Holy Spirit gives us our gifts so that we can help each other and build each other up for the common good.

But we can’t avoid what we all have in common. Sin, our common problem, brings us together at the foot of the cross where our social status and human achievements disappear. It’s common knowledge that we all fall short of the glory of God.

Thankfully our common faith in Christ Jesus gives us the most unusual, uncommon result… forgiveness and acceptance by the One who could, if He chose to, look down His nose at our lack of status, our inferiority, especially when compared to His own nobility, His own perfection.

But He knew that there was only one answer to making me holy, clean, acceptable. Taking my place, becoming like those common criminals on the cross, though He Himself was totally blameless, He saved me.

Some would say it was a most uncommon approach. But for the common good… for the good of the whole world… not just me… it was the only way.

Leaving my guilt at the cross,

Christine

#godsplan #humility #grace

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