Extra Ordinary

ACTS 4:13

God often chooses the small and insignificant to achieve His purposes on earth. Today to “serve” in today’s major denominational church seems to require a special education that is acquired over many years and at great costs. I know I have been there.

My mother took me, and my brothers and sisters, to church from pre-school age until we were in our teen years. At which point she told each, “you are old enough to make your own decisions, but I WILL NOT Stop praying for you,” and she didn’t! Though Mom has been a resident of Heaven for several years, I can still feel her presence.

I was teaching the Adult Sunday School at the age of 12 and comfortable in my little white Baptist Church out in the country. I graduated High School at 17 years old and soon found myself in a very different world. The Vietnam War was going on, and the Army was drafting anybody over 18 to impress America’s view of civil government upon the indigenous people of Vietnam. To avoid being drafted I joined the Air Force. No stomping through jungles filled with snakes, and lizards, and bullets. Instead God sent me to the two-mile by four-mile Island ninety-seven feet above sea level in the Bearing Sea called Shemya. The highest recorded wind speed in the state of Alaska, 139 miles per hour, was recorded on Shemya; winds of 80 miles per hour were a daily occurrence. There was a naked woman behind every tree on Shemya! Cross my heart! There also were NO TREES on the Island either. Have you ever seen it snow up-side-down? It is called a “Williwaw.” At times everything outside your window disappears for three to five days at a time in a “White Out.”

Shemya had one small Chapel to serve many faiths, mostly Catholic and Protestant. It was freestanding, no way to get there without going outside. Every time I thought about going to church, a short walk from the barracks it was either blowing or snowing, so I never really attended up there. As a matter of fact, I am not to sure the base Chaplain went all that often either! Church services were often held in the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Club in the main building. Drinking and Gambling on Saturday night (and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays too!) and church on Sundays.

Post Air Force I first applied to a major denomination’s seminary. All looked good and was pre-approved for a visit. You will need this, and this, and a THOUSAND DOLLARS! Well, that was just shot down. My Air Force pay had been $312 a month after taxes.

The next seminary would not accept me because I HAD smoked cigarettes, even though I no longer did, and sent me packing. That hurt.

I determined right there if God had anything to teach me, He would have to do it without the colleges and seminaries. Even today the thought that special people and well-funded resources are needed to serve God is held tightly. BUT…

I read where Jesus selected a rather unimpressive group of men as disciples. After sitting at the feet of Jesus and traveling with Him for about three years, on the Day of Pentecost after Holy Spirit fell on them, this rag-tag bunch literally “turned the world upside down.” THAT is what I wanted!

A study of God’s ways shows His ways are very different than man’s ways. His thoughts are higher than man’s thoughts. For example, Christ selected a rather unimpressive group of men as disciples, yet after being filled with the Spirit, they “turned the world upside down.” During His ministry on earth, Jesus fed thousands with a child’s meager lunch, and He viewed the widow’s two small coins as a greater offering than all the other generous donations (John 6:5-12; Luke 21:2-3).

God specializes in using people who are not naturally qualified to accomplish His tasks. Moses was a verbally impaired (he stuttered badly) 80-year-old shepherd who liberated a nation. After Gideon hid from the enemy, God made him a valiant warrior. David was the overlooked youngest son who killed a giant with a small stone and became Israel’s greatest king. Peter and his brother Andrew were fishermen. James and his brother John were sons of Zebedee who was himself a fisherman, and who they would have carried on with that trade after their father. Matthew (also known as Levi) was a tax collector for the Roman occupiers. Simon the Zealot was a political activist, although that was not his ‘profession’ as such. It is believed that Judas Iscariot (the one who betrayed Jesus) was possibly involved in monetary matters (an early type of ‘banker’ or ‘accountant’) as he was the purse-keeper for the disciples. As for the other five, the other Judas, the other James, Philip, Bartholomew (also known as Thaddaeus) and Thomas no-one knows as their jobs are not mentioned in the Bible and there is insufficient evidence to speculate as to what they might have been.]

God isn’t looking for impressive people; He wants willing ones who will bow the knee in humble submission. Being weak and ordinary doesn’t make you useless. Rather, it positions you for a demonstration of HIS divine power in your life. He takes insignificant ones and delights in making them great.

Have you ever considered that your lack of ability, talent, or skill is the ideal setting for a great display of Christ’s power and glory? If you are willing to submit to His leading and venture into the scary yet rewarding territory of faith and obedience, He will do great things in and through you.

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