Common Things: A Poem

By Ruth Bell Graham   •   June 4, 2015

Ruth Graham ironing
Ruth Graham ironing in the family's home. With a traveling husband and five children, she had plenty of everyday chores to keep her busy.

Ruth Bell Graham was born on June 10, 1920, in eastern China, the daughter of medical missionaries. It was two decades later, at Wheaton College, where she met Billy Graham. The couple was married in 1941 and had five children, who became Ruth’s primary responsibility while her husband preached around the globe. Ruth passed away on June 14, 2007. Billy Graham has said his work would have been impossible without Ruth’s love and dedication, which she displayed even in the common things.

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
–1 Corinthians 10:31 (NASB)

Lord, let mine be
a common place
while here.
His was a common one;
He seems so near
when I am working
at some ordinary task.
Lord, let mine be
a common one, I ask.
Give me things to do
that others shun,
I am not so gifted or so poised,
Lord, as some.
I am best fitted
for the common things,
and I am happy so.
It always brings
a sense of fellowship
with Him who learned
to do the lowly things
that others spurned:
to wear simple clothes,
the common dress,
to gather in His arms
and gently bless
(and He was busy, too)
a little child,
to lay His hand upon
the one defiled,
to walk with sinners
down some narrow street,
to kneel Himself
and wash men’s dusty feet.
To ride a common foal,
to work with wood,
to dwell with common folk,
eat common food;
and then upon the city dump
to die for me

Lord, common things
are all I ask
of Thee.

Taken by permission from “Ruth Bell Graham’s Collected Poems,” by Ruth Bell Graham, ©1977, 1992, 1997 The Ruth Graham Literary Trust.