God Uses Ordinary People
Excitement builds, as millions of sports fans anticipate the Super Bowl matchup between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. Players from both teams will step onto the field, Sunday evening, to compete for the honor of hoisting the coveted Lombardi Trophy into the air. Who will rise to the occasion? Who will make the game-changing play? It may be a pick six on defense, or a punt return tip-toeing along the sideline for a touchdown. It might be an acrobatic catch to keep a critical drive going during the final minutes of the game. The Patriots certainly have the edge in terms of experience. They’ve been there before, and seem to relish the spotlight. Tom Brady has been called the greatest quarterback of all time, and Bill Belichick is considered one of top coaches in the history of the game. But don’t be too quick to dismiss the Eagles. The team is loaded with young talent, hungry for a win. I can’t say I’m rooting for one team or the other. As long as it’s an exciting game I’ll be happy.
In a world that idolizes superstars, it can be easy to feel insignificant. If only the best of the best will ever make it to the big game, what about the rest of us? How can we hope to make a difference or leave an impact in the world? That feeling of inadequacy can carry over into our walk with God. We tend to think of the men and women of the Bible as spiritual superstars. Individuals like Noah, Abraham, or Moses set out on incredible journeys and saw miracles unfold before their eyes. Reading about the exciting things that happened in their lives, we might assume they were near-perfect MVP’s, leaving an example so lofty the rest of us will never quite be able to follow. But that’s not the case. In reality, they were ordinary people like the rest of us. Abraham wasn’t chosen because he was a first string, mega-saint. He made the same kinds of mistakes as you and me, and wrestled with the same types of fears that grip us all. But he was willing to step out in faith allowing God to work in his life. Looking towards the unknown he said, “I don’t know where you’re leading me Lord, but I will go.”
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1–3)
One of the lessons we learn in the Bible is how the Lord calls seemingly unremarkable people, in order to accomplish remarkable things. We see this illustrated in the promise of Genesis 12:1-3.
The Lord said he would make Abraham a remarkable name. He may have wondered, “Why me? I’m just a wandering herdsman from the middle of nowhere.” But God graciously worked in his life, changing his name from Abram, meaning “exalted father,” to Abraham meaning “father of a multitude.” Thousands of years later, people from all over the globe still speak his name with the utmost respect.
The Lord said he would give Abraham a remarkable family. Even though the aging couple had no children to call their own, they were promised descendants more numerous than the stars in the heavens. How could this be? They were already in their golden years. The dream of raising a family had long since passed them by. Despite unfavorable odds, they clung to the promise in faith, believing that nothing is impossible with God.
The Lord said he would bestow on Abraham a remarkable blessing. God would not only remain by his side through all of his travels, leaving this good and prosperous land as an inheritance for those would come after him. But more importantly, all of the nations of the earth would somehow be blessed through him. The NT shows us how this would be accomplished, through one of Abraham’s descendants, Jesus Christ. The Son of God chose to enter this world in human form, and it was no coincidence that he was born in the linage of Abraham. Christ came to rescue all of humanity from sin, through the cross and empty tomb. Everyone who places their faith in the Savior, as Abraham placed his faith in the Lord, will partake in the promised blessing (see Romans 4:9-15 and Galatians 3:6-14).
Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. (Romans 4:16)
Do you have to be a superstar for the Lord to do wonderful things in your life? Not really. God is the one who calls seemingly unremarkable people, and uses them to accomplish remarkable things. He blesses us in ways we could never imagine and makes us a blessing to others beyond anything we could ever bring about on our own, all for the glory of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. He simply asks us to trust Him with the kind of faith a wondering herdsman showed thousands of years ago.