“And Moses said, ‘Who me, Lord? I’ve not been to seminary. I didn’t even finish college. The other preachers won’t respect me. Pulpit committees won’t have anything to do with me. There’s a bounty on me back in Egypt. I stutter a lot, and tend to freeze up in front of groups. You’ve clearly dialed a wrong number, Lord.”
“And God said, ‘Shut up and listen.'” (My rather free version of Exodus 3-4.)
“The Lord can’t use a nothing nobody like me.”
Ever heard that? Ever said it?
Repent, sinner. You underestimate God! (And you might be overestimating your own importance in the equation.)
The Lord delights in taking nobodies and doing great things with them.
I heard the testimony of the fellow who was working on the Graham dairy farm in Charlotte, NC, in the 1930s, the worker who took Billy Graham to the Mordecai Ham crusade where he gave his heart to Christ. He said, “I know you think Billy Graham must have been an usual teenager for God to have done such great things with him in his adulthood. But you’d be wrong. In fact, if you had seen a hundred teenagers in that town, and tried to pick the one who was going to be used of God to touch millions for Christ, you couldn’t have done it. Billy Graham was a normal, typical teenager.”
As a 16-year-old working on the dairy farm, Billy was interested in one thing and one thing only, the man said. Nope, not girls. “He wanted to drive the farm truck.” And that’s how the farm worker–sorry, I’ve forgotten his name–got Billy to the crusade. “I told him, if you’ll go with me tonight, you can drive the truck tomorrow.”
Two of Paul’s epistles are addressed to Timothy, his son in the ministry. Timothy served Paul in many ways and pastored the church at Ephesus for a while. He was clearly a major player. But, if anyone could have begged off for lack of ability, eloquence, and a hundred other things, it was he.
Question: Have you ever looked at a young person with extraordinary talents and gifts–looks, presence, brains, personality, and eloquence–and thought, “God is going to do great things with him?” Or her.
If so, you have fallen into that trap. It’s our nature to think such a person with such assets will be used in extraordinary ways in life, as well as in the kingdom. The only way this is true, however, is for that one to bring all those gifts and talents to the cross and give them to the Savior. Then, as He pleases, they may be picked back up and used as instruments for the Kingdom. But until this happens, all those positives can be impediments to usefulness in the Lord’s work.
Back to Timothy….
Timothy was physically weak, according to I Timothy 5:23 where Paul refers to his “frequent ailments.”
Timothy was personally timid, according to 2 Timothy 1:7 where Paul reminds him that “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.”
Timothy was relatively young, according to I Timothy 4:12 where Paul urges him to “let no one look down on your youthfulness….”
Timothy was emotionally fragile, according to 2 Timothy 1:4 where Paul recalls his tears.
Now, let’s say you’re looking for a champion for Christ, one whom God can use for mighty things. Here we have a too-young man, one who is physically weak, rather timid, and fragile emotionally. Would you consider him? Probably not. And definitely not, if there were other prospects with better resumes.
If I Corinthians 1:26ff is not a part of the fiber of your tissue, may we suggest that it should be. It will explain a thousand things about how God works: whom He chooses, whom He passes over, whom He rejects, whom He blesses, etc.
“You see your calling, brethren–that there are not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble.
“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong; and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are.”
Why did He do this? “That no man should boast before God.” (I Corinthians 1:26-31)
And so, if you are a Fortune 500 executive, if you are wealthy beyond our imagination, if you were ever a Miss USA or a Mr. Olympia or a national champion or Olympic gold-medal winner in anything, God can still use you. However, it will be in spite of all those things.
No flesh should boast in His presence.
It’s all of grace, my friend.
“Not that we are adequate to think anything of ourselves, but our adequacy is of God” (2 Corinthians 3:5).
Running out of excuses, aren’t you? (smiley-face goes here.)
When God calls, do not waste your time or try His patience by enumerating all the reasons you are unqualified. You are indeed unqualified, but that’s not the point.
The Father delights in using those judged as unusable by the world. You will recall that “the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone” (I Peter 2:7).
Now, what were you saying about being a nothing nobody?
On a mission trip to Argentina, our minister of youth Bryan Harris stopped at a market stall where a craftsman was carving out matte’ cups from blocks of wood. Customers were allowed to choose the block from which he would fashion their cup. Bryan reached down into a bucket at the man’s feet and pulled out a piece of wood. The man protested, “These are rejects, senor. You do not want a cup from this.” Bryan said, “This is exactly what I want.” And while the worker carved his cup from that block, Bryan spoke to him about “the stone which the builders rejected” becoming the chief cornerstone. And he led the man to Christ.
If you are feeling rejected by bosses, lovers, friends, the world, anyone–lift up your head, friend. We have a Savior who specializes in great things through despised instruments.