Who Does God Use?
I've been reading 1 Thess. 2:1-12 in my devotions today. I tell you, that Paul was really something! Wherever he went, people could not forget the impact he made on their lives. The unbelievers at Thessalonica testified, "Here's a man who has turned the world upside down!" In other words, wherever Paul went, whether people accepted his message or not, no one could deny that he was a man of integrity.
The whole thing boils down to this: Paul lived in such a way that his life was characterized by spiritual authority. This authority had very little to do with his status as an apostle. To me, this is very encouraging. It means that God can use anyone -- regardless of our background, education, wealth, or anything else you can add -- if we are willing to truly follow in the footsteps of the Master.
Serving others sacrificially is not a life reserved for pastors or super-saints. It is the normal Christian life. John Wesley once said, "To lay up treasures on earth is as plainly forbidden by our Master as is adultery and murder." More than 95 percent of the total church budget in America is spent at home to maintain programs rather than to reach out to the nations. I'm convinced that if every one of us would adopt the kind of radical, sharing lifestyle of the apostle Paul, we would turn our world upside down for Christ.
Becky and I go to Ethiopia not as professional missionaries but as simple disciples of Jesus, the one who made it clear that the missionary mandate is for each one of us who claim to follow Him. For us, "missions" is simply an extension of our home, our marriage, and our local church. We are learning how to become people who are willing to exchange everything for the pearl of great price -- the kingdom of God!
So, who does God use? He uses you and me -- but only if we give Him permission to do so. Have you ever consciously chosen to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus? If not, perhaps this prayer will help you take that first step.
Dear Lord Jesus, I confess that I have loved my life more than I have loved you. I have failed to live that sacrificial lifestyle that you want me to live. Beginning this moment, I am willing to accept inconvenience and even suffering if necessary to serve you. All that I have and all that I am is now yours. Amen.
February 27, 2010
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.