Summary: God uses ordinary people.
READ: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
What kind of people does God invest in? Paul’s words here in this passage might well come as a bit of a shock. They’re shocking because they run COUNTER-CULTURALLY against most of the ideas that we’ve all been raised with. Our society values those who have the right looks, wear the right clothes, flaunt great talents and abilities. That’s the kind of people that the world invests in.
But Paul says that God chooses the seemingly foolish, weak, and insignificant (as the world sees them). They’re the ones He calls. In fact, He calls NOT MANY wise, NOT MANY mighty, NOT MANY noble.
Why does God do that? Verse 29 tells us - “so that no flesh should glory in His presence”. God’s looking to invest in people who, when everything is said and done - and He’s used them, and they’ve been successful - will say “IT WAS ONLY BY YOUR GRACE THAT WE MADE IT. We couldn’t have achieved one iota without You!”
That’s the message of these verses. It’s a great encouragement isn’t it?! that God can gain the MOST glory by using ordinary people like you and me. But you know, there are many Christians who are intimidated by their feelings of inadequacy. And we ALL know our own weaknesses and limitations better than anybody else does, don’t we?! And so we think that because our resources are so small, we could never do anything for God. “Leave it to those talented people; those ‘Super-men and women’ who have it all together”.
Do you know what is the strangest thing I’ve found to be true? Those so-called ‘super-people’ don’t really exist! Because if you get close enough to one of those really talented, seemingly ‘all-together’ people, you discover that they’re just human beings like the rest of us, with the same feelings of inadequacy about themselves that we all share.
ILLUSTRATION: Gladys Aylward was a missionary to China more than 50 years ago. (You may remember her story - they made a film about it called “The Inn of the 6th Happiness”). She was forced to flee when the Japanese invaded Yangcheng, but she would not abandon the orphans that she had been caring for. With just one assistant, Gladys Aylward led more than 100 children over the treacherous mountains toward Free China.
Along the harrowing journey she grappled with despair and, at times, a feeling of utter hopelessness. One morning on that journey, after Gladys Aylward had had a sleepless night, a 13 year old girl reminded her of Moses and how he had led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the Red Sea. To which Gladys replied: “But I am not Moses”. Then the little girl said, “Of course you aren’t, BUT JEHOVAH IS STILL GOD!”
When Gladys Aylward and those orphan children made it through the mountains to safety, they proved once again that no matter how inadequate we may feel, God is still God, and we can depend on Him.
This evening I want to take a brief look at three stories from the Old Testament, in which God asks us three questions. And we’re going to see that God invests in ordinary people, and despite our feelings of inadequacy, if we will just give God what we have (even though it might not seem like much at all), He can take it and work wonders for the glory of His Name.
The first of these questions that we are confronted with was asked of Moses, and we find it in EXODUS 4:2.
You’ll recall how Moses was rescued from death as a baby - when Pharaoh was having all the Jewish infant boys slaughtered - he was hidden in a basket in the reed banks of the River Nile. And in the providence of God, Moses was found by Pharaoh’s daughter who adopted him as her own. And so Moses was raised amongst the royalty of Egypt - given the finest education and every advantage in life at that time.
As a young man he found himself perfectly positioned to be able to help his people - the Israelites. He had the ear of Pharaoh himself. He had been delivered from death, and brought by the hand of God to this incredible place of opportunity. Surely he was born to be a man of destiny.
But then it all went sour! Moses, in one rash moment of anger, seemed to throw it all away. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew - one of his people - and he lashed out and killed the Egyptian, and as a result he wound up having to flee for his life into the wilderness.
Moses spent the next 40 years tending another man’s sheep in the wilderness. The dream was smashed. Destiny lay in ruins. He was a young man when he fled Egypt; 40 years is the best part of a lifetime - seemingly wasted because of one rash act!