Are You Living Above the Common?

Sometimes simple phrases can change an entire perspective. A few months ago, I had lunch with my good friend and worship pastor, Robin Zaruba. During our conversation, he mentioned a phrase he had heard before–a phrase that caught the attention of my heart. And I longed to be what he said…

I love the statement Christ makes in John 10:10,

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

The Greek word translated in the NIV “to the full” literally means “exceedingly above the common.”

Jesus is referring to Himself as the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep, and that His life will be taken up again. He does this so that we, who are saved by Him, can have a life lived far above the common, ordinary way of living.

So what does “living above the common” look like?

Perhaps we should first ask, “What does common life look like?” That answer is easy; we see it all around. Common living is even easy to spot in a Christian. I know. I’ve been one of them. I’ve trusted Christ as my Savior, but I still lived the life of the common, ordinary person.

I did my work. I played my hobbies. I made sure my wife and kids were well provided for.

And I did my Sunday ritual. I sang the songs. I listened to the sermons. For years, I preached the sermons. I taught the Sunday school classes.

I didn’t do those “bad sins” that we see those other Christians do in the news. I have been faithful to my wife. I have strong work ethics. I pay my bills on time. I pay my taxes. I vote.

So, basically, I can check off all the things that others would view as a good guy who loves his family, his God, his church, and his country.

That is what common looks like. It’s not perfect; in fact, it’s far from it. But it’s not bad, either. It’s just ordinary. Actually, it is what is expected from the general rule of commonality.

Being common can easily lead to complacency, mediocre, or settling to be justifiably good before other people. Should I settle for being only what is expected of me? Then I think of what Christ called us to be: different–above the common. He called us to sacrifice ourselves.

The general rule of commonality states that as long as what I do is just like everyone else in my circle, then I am OK. That circle could be different for various cultures, churches, or countries. And the general rule of commonality for most churches is to maintain what we like to do for ourselves because it is what we have always done.

However, I began to live above the common when I realized someone outside the walls of my worship facility needed me to meet him right where he is, because the odds were I could not talk him into stepping foot inside my worship facility.

Perhaps living above the common includes sacrificing comfort and convenience to meet the needs of someone else.

Those needs could be evangelism.

Or they could be discipleship.

Both can get messy.

And it takes a person who desires to be above the common to get involved. After all, Christ did that for us!

Question: How have you seen someone live above the common for you? How are you inspired to live above the common for someone else?


Inspiring. Equipping. Engaging. That’s what the You Can Tell It! Evangelism Training Seminar is all about. Click here to bring this practical seminar to your church!

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