“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27).
Whether it is entering into ministry or just being an example to those with whom you make daily contact, do you ever question your ability to be used by God … why God would choose you of all people as a messenger of hope and eternal life? After all, you cannot quote the Bible forwards and backwards. You have no formal, seminary training. Bad thoughts and behaviors still surface regularly. You sometimes forget to pray. Worse yet, you sometimes do not want to pray. You have difficulty staying focused when you finally find the time and inclination to study the Word, soon forgetting half of what you read.
Does any of the above sound familiar? Well, I am here to tell you that you are not alone! I, too, have struggled very recently with these same questions. So much so that I felt ill-equipped and uninspired to write here. And, those examples (or flaws) I noted in the paragraph above? Those are not random, made up examples at all. Those are, in fact, some of my own personal struggles.
In response to my growing worries and self-doubt, I believe God led me to thinking and studying about some of the Bible’s most notable characters. Many of the great leaders of Judaism and Christianity started out as the worst sort of scoundrels. Abraham lied and cheated his way through Egypt in order to save his own skin. Jacob bilked his brother out of his birthright, then deceived and lied to his father in order to cheat his brother out of his paternal blessing. Matthew was a publican, the most contemptible kind of traitor to his own people. But God, working with such weak and flawed material, molded them into spiritual powerhouses and examples of moral strength and righteousness. This stunning revelation played a large part in lifting the cloud of doubt that had enveloped me and that may very well be covering you.
To further illustrate, let us consider King David. David is one of the most enigmatic characters in the Bible. He is honored as the ideal king of Israel, the builder of an empire, a great father to his people, the root from whom the Messiah would come, and the key to Jesus’ ancestry. He was a mighty warrior, a musician, a poet, a deeply loyal friend, a devoted lover of God, and for the most part a just and able king.
He was at the same time a liar, a cheat, a swindler, an adulterer, a cruel warlord, and a murderer. He placed family unity and integrity among his highest values, yet he stole another man’s wife. He was a terrible father and a worse husband. The dysfunction of his own family laid the groundwork for the destruction of the great empire he had so successfully built. He was, in fact, the very flower of a broken human nature and a prime example of the fact that God often does his best work with the least promising raw materials.
Allow the truth of that last sentence to trickle down into the depths of your heart. Is it not reassuring to know that sometimes from the most unpromising soil grows the sweetest fruit? For all of his weaknesses and sins, David was nonetheless a man of great faith. He is a prime example of God using flawed vessels to do His work. How encouraging those thoughts should be to us!
Despite your perceived inadequacies or frailties, God can and will use you if you have a willing heart. Your very weaknesses and past mistakes may prove to be your greatest testimony. Step out in faith! Endeavor to cooperate with God and mature. Be encouraged! Be authentically you … the you God has called you to be. And remember, the light shines brighter through a cracked pot.
© 2017 by Kelli Hammond Mills. All rights reserved.