by Chris Sherrod Posted Feb 8, 2019
Whom does God use? How does He build His Kingdom and what type of person qualifies? How spiritual must you be? How educated and well-off? Is there an age requirement?
When we hear this kind of question we often jump to likely categories such as the morally upright, biblically grounded, traditionally acceptable, and spiritually mature. But have you ever thought about the people who missed Jesus during His earthly ministry? Those whom He most offended were the religious (self-righteous), the rich (self-reliant), and the respectable (self-important). These educated, traditional, and acceptable leaders in people’s eyes usually received His harshest criticism.
In contrast, those who were drawn to Jesus were the non-religious and uneducated, the morally questionable (swindlers, prostitutes and “sinners”) and outcasts (lepers, poor, ethnically different). He scandalized the world by intentionally pursuing the least, the last, and the lost – the unlikely focus of God’s affection.
Too many of us mistakenly think that God only calls and uses people who meet a very specific list of qualifications. But Paul reminded the Corinthian believers: “Consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Cor 1:26-28)
What we see in Scripture and throughout history is that God’s people are often hidden and unexpected because they are frequently scorned and at the margins of organized religion. When you wonder if God could use you or your children or your family to impact the world for His kingdom, remember that ordinary doesn’t equal insignificant. Important actions and influence don’t always have to be big, drastic, or extraordinary. Later in his same letter, Paul explains the beauty of the unlikely: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (4:7)
During the week we will study five instances in the Gospel of Luke where Jesus chose or commended the most unlikely people as worthy of our attention and imitation:
May this study both humble and equip you to confidently offer your unlikely life in service to the King.