Who Does God Use?
We will be launching a new series of 4 messages on the book of Ruth this weekend. It is a book that gives a surprising answer to the question leading into this memo—a gentile woman from a country (Moab) that was known for being morally corrupt and opposing Israel. This highly unlikely woman was the instrument of rescue for the embittered Jewish widow.
We all get tripped up on this question. We tend to think that God is most likely to use the most intelligent, the most socially adept, the wealthiest, the most attractive or the most gifted to accomplish His greatest achievements. It surprised Jesus’ contemporaries. His disciples were probably not known for being the valedictorians of their Hebrew schools. Throughout the gospels they jump to wrong conclusions, make rash statements, mistreat people and in the end betray Jesus at His hour of need. Yet they succeeded in the launching of the church far beyond any human explanation.
This week my men’s group took a one week detour from our discussion of Nabeel Qureshi’s book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus to look behinds the scenes a bit. We watched a video about the life story of David Wood, a fellow college student who was used by God to build a relationship with Nabeel and carry on a life-transforming dialogue with him about spiritual truth. His story is strange (even disturbing!) in its graphic account of his neurotic and violent history before coming to faith while in prison. I was struck that God could and would use such an instrument for such a strategic task. Embedded in the story was another unlikely instrument, a cellmate of David Wood who become a follower of Jesus and had surrendered himself to authorities and confessed to 21 felonies. As David would later urge Nabeel to test his beliefs with relentless investigation, David’s cellmate challenged his bizarre view of the world. Behind the curtain, God was working through surprising instruments.
What can we conclude? God can use us, from this moment, with our history, flaws and wherever to find ourselves. He can change us into the instrument He needs and put us where we will be of most use for His plans. It is a supernatural process of God graciously transforming us, but it’s not automatic. We have to cooperate. We must choose to make ourselves available to Him for equipping and for use by Him in service. We have to be humble enough to learn and follow. We have to be courageous to engage in dialogue with people who have views divergent from ours and resilient to the resistance we will face. We must allow His love and compassion to become resident in us and dominant over our natural bent toward self and callous complacency.
God can use any of us, but following Jesus and embracing our role in His kingdom is not for the faint of heart. It is a radical paradigm shift in how we view the Lord, ourselves and others.
As we study Naomi, Ruth and Boaz’s stories, we will see this power of God on full display!
Looking forward to seeing you!