HOW TO BE USED BY GOD
By Trevor DeVage
One day Jesus drove a demon from a suffering boy after his disciples tried and failed to make that happen. Afterwards they asked him why they couldn’t perform the miracle, and he told them it was because they lacked faith. “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Well, I’ve stood in front of a mountain and tried to make it move. Nothing happened. But I do have faith, at least a hint of faith, enough faith to believe that God can do something through me. I believe he will take my tiny faith and make something huge out of it.
And I believe that can happen for you, too.
We may feel tempted to put ourselves down because we don’t have more faith. But, as I said in my sermon a couple of Sundays ago, God uses the lowly to do the lofty. The truth applies to social or economic status, but I believe it applies to our spiritual status as well. Don’t wait till you have great faith to try great things for God. He can use the measure of faith you already have if you offer it to him now.
We think about this at Christmastime, of course. Every preacher tells us about Mary’s lowly status: a simple, poor, teenager, made even more lowly in the sight of her community because of her unexplainable pregnancy. How much faith did Mary have? We know she had enough doubt to stammer in the presence of the magnificent angel messenger, “How can this be?” But soon she finally submitted with the faith she could muster: ““I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”
Another oft-told story shows Peter stepping out of his boat toward Jesus who was walking on the surface of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was his rabbi, and the Jews taught that a rabbi’s disciple should follow so close to him that they get the dust from his sandals on their clothing, too. Peter wanted to be that close to Jesus, even in the middle of the lake. We talk about Peter’s lack of faith, but he did have enough faith to get into the water
I believe he lacked faith in himself more than he lacked faith in Jesus. Too often we say we want to follow Jesus closely, but we won’t step out of the boat because we don’t think God can use our lowly life. But look beyond Mary and Peter to Mary’s Joseph, to the shepherds, to Moses who argued with God about his own inability to answer God’s call. All of them were lowly. All of them were used mightily by God.
I think of a friend I’ve known for 17 years. I can’t tell you how many times he’s told me, “I had that great idea! I could have done that . . . made that . . . started that . . . but now somebody else has done it.” I want to say to him “So, why don’t you just start doing what you think God wants you to do?” Maybe it’s because he just doesn’t believe in himself enough.
Francis Chan says of the bible, “I want my life to fit into this story. I want to think of my life biblically. If it was a book about riches and fame and entrepreneurialism, my life wouldn’t fit in. It’s a story filled with lowly people. That fits the narrative of my life.”
For my part, I’ve said before there’s no reason I should be doing what I’m doing except by the grace of God. Thousands are more qualified.
But I’m trusting God to use me in my lowliness to accomplish something lofty for his glory by his strength. And I’m challenging every reader of this blog to do the same.
Merry Christmas, and remember Mary lifted from lowly to lofty as you anticipate how you’ll live your new year.