Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: A sermon for Palm Sunday.

John 12:12-19

“He Uses the Ordinary”

By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer

Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church

Newport News, VA


There is nothing dignified about a donkey.

We can look at him from any angle and we will fail to find what we might call a sense of ‘presence’.

He just doesn’t have it.

He is an awkward, stubborn, and well… not very intelligent animal to say the least.

In his well-known poem on the donkey, G.K. Chesterton makes the donkey reply to those who might sneer or laugh at him:

“Fools! For I also had my hour;

One far fierce hour and sweet:

There was a shout about my ears,

And palms before my feet.”

Whatever Jesus Christ touches He gives sacred worth and dignity—no matter how despised a person or creature might be, Christ has a use for him or her.

No matter how ordinary, uneducated, unpopular, disabled, disfigured, untalented, or seemingly unimportant a person may be or feel—Jesus Christ has a use for them, and He raises that person up—or gives them dignity--by His use!

Think about it.

Jesus Christ uses ordinary people in order to accomplish extraordinary things.

Look at the disciples themselves.

They were all ordinary people.

As far as we know, none of them were of noble birth.

None of them were what we might call a genius, or a scholar.

We know the occupations of only five out of the twelve.

Four were fishermen and one was a tax collector—and a tax collector in those days was a greedy money lender—not a respected government official.

And with this group of ordinary men, Jesus Christ turned the world upside down!

And Jesus has been using ordinary people ever since and doing mighty things with them.

God doesn’t just work with geniuses.

God will work with anybody who will give Him their heart.

And we are all called to give Christ our hearts, our lives, our all—no matter who we are, no matter where we come from.

Christ has a divine purpose for all of our lives.

All of us were created with certain talents and abilities in order to be used by God to live abundant fulfilling lives of dignity and worth.

In the eyes of God there is no such thing as human garbage.

There is no such thing as an unimportant person.

People are not disposable.

No matter how the world might view us—no matter how we might view ourselves…God views us with eyes that see us as the most precious and valuable treasures in this entire universe.

With this in mind—there is nothing that God cannot accomplish through any one of our lives!

What is God accomplishing through you?

What is God’s plan for your life?

The worst thing any one of us can do is to shrink away from His call on our lives—using our inferiorities as a wall between us and what God knows we can be!

Never allow yourself to answer God by saying: “I’m not clever, I’m not good enough, or talented. I can’t do anything.”

Because the Christ Who made use of a despised animal such as a donkey can and will make much greater use of you or me, and if He doesn’t the only reason will be that we won’t let Him!

I wasted a number of years feeling I was unusable.

I remember one particular day as I was walking across the campus where I went to college.

I was feeling pretty low.

I was beating myself up pretty bad.

I happened to walk into the college record store—and through the speakers in that store I felt God was talking to me at that very moment.

Billy Joel’s song: “I Love You Just the Way You Are,” was playing.

It was as if God was saying to me: “Stop beating up on yourself. Yes you are human. Yes you make mistakes. You are far from being perfect—but that’s alright. Stop being your own worst enemy—I love you just the way you are!”

“Now just hand everything over to Me—and we’ll do something together.”

“We’ll make something beautiful out of your life!”

And here I am. A work of God in progress.

But I know that God is changing me and using me—despite myself.

And life is good.

I’m not rich.

I never will be.

But I’ve got a wife who loves me, a wonderful son, a fantastic church family…

…and most important—A God who believes in me.

Do you know that you have a God Who believes in you as well?

He believes in you so much that He came and died, so that you can live!

That’s a big investment.

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ has purchased those who believe in Him by His blood…by the blood He shed on the Cross.

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