When Emily Middleton’s boyfriend dumps her unexpectedly, her mother Linda discovers this on Facebook and invites her to come home for some TLC. (If nothing else this little clip is a timely reminder to be conscious of what we post publicly on social media!!) Emily does go home, but with plans to pursue her non-refundable holiday to Ecuador. (Which she originally intended to go on with her boyfriend.) When all of Emily’s mates refuse to go with her she asks her mum to help her put ‘the fun in non-refundable’! Once out there it’s not long before Emily meets James, and is clearly smitten.
However, as the title suggests this adventure in paradise will not end well. It’s not too long before Emily and Linda find themselves running for their lives from a bunch of unfriendly kidnappers. And it’s the stress of this situation which puts their relationship under pressure. At one point mom Linda challenges her daughter about her life, and the way she spends so much time and energy posting pictures of herself on Instagram. Emily replies that she wants her friends to see what a great life she is having, and this comment sparks an argument about their different lifestyles. When Linda senses that her daughter is suggesting she does not have an adventurous life, she comes back with a reply along the lines of, ‘Don’t say I’ve done nothing with my life – I had you and your brother.’
We may sometimes question what really matters in life. In this social media age we sometimes cherry pick the highlights of our ordinary existence and post them for the world to see. And at times when we see what others post up we can feel insecure. But Jesus’s great adventure involved coming to earth and living as an ordinary human being. Growing up in a fairly poor family, doing the day to day chores we must all do. Struggling in a difficult economic climate, whilst working in the construction business.
Ordinary life really matters to Jesus. He knows what our dull moments are like, what our struggles and small achievements look like. He gets it. He spent 3 years travelling and living out his extraordinary ministry, but prior to that he spent 30 years living normally. And it’s worth keeping in mind that even those 3 spectacular years would have had plenty of quiet and difficult moments. Linda may not have spent her life romping about, living it up and looking good, but she spent it caring for her family. Spending her time and energy on others. Jesus once said, ‘Your care for others is the measure of your greatness.’ (see Luke 9 v 48, Living Bible version) Not the pictures we post on social media, but the unseen stuff, the ‘little’ things we do that actually change the world. We may not feel they are significant, but they are to God, who ‘sees the secret little things we do, and will reward us.’ (Matthew 6 vv 3-4) The one who knows when we spend our time caring.