I still marvel at how despite all my supposed disqualifications God has brought me into the calling He gave me. I want to share the joy of that with you, and illustrate from the Bible that when God has placed a calling on your life, You are not big enough to mess it up. To say that does presuppose one thing, that your heart is right before God. Even so, if He wants it, He will have it.
I am amazed, encouraged, and humbled when I read about the people God used to accomplish His great purposes in our world. The book of Genesis alone is quite a story. Abraham treated his wife shamefully. Isaac repeated his father’s mistake. Jacob was a liar and a cheat. Joseph had the makings of a spoiled brat. At best he was imprudent in sharing his grandiose dreams with the family already jealous of him. Things don’t get any better for him as he goes into slavery and then to prison on a trumped-up charge. Yet because he remained diligent in all that he did, he became Israel’s first great deliverer as second in command of Egypt, at the time the world’s greatest nation.
Moses had some kind of speech impediment and an anger management problem that got him exiled after committing murder. He offered so many excuses when God showed himself at the burning bush to call him to deliver Israel from slavery that he made god angry (Ex 4:14.) Yet he did deliver Israel and gave them God’s laws. In Judges 6 we find Gideon, hiding in a hole and yet called a valiant warrior by God’s angel (Judges 6:12.) He would go on to deliver his nation with an army of three hundred men.
Then there’s David. We find his story in the books of Samuel. Anointed king while a lowly shepherd, the youngest in his family, seemingly considered unworthy of consideration even by his own father. After proving himself worthy of the honor he was instead exiled as the jealous king Saul tried to kill him. He was called a man after God’s own heart, yet he committed adultery and tried to cover it up with murder. God’s promise remained, and Jesus is called the son of David. The difference between the sin of Saul and the sin of David is their responses when confronted. Saul made excuses. David repented. There are more examples, but let’s move on to the New Testament.
One might have expected Jesus to pick the best of the best to be the followers who would spread His message throughout the world. Maybe He did, but we probably wouldn’t see it that way. A third of his chosen team were fishermen. One was a tax collector, another a rebel, another a pessimistic skeptic, and another a traitor. None of them really understood what he was here to do until after his resurrection. They seemed to be constantly squabbling over who was going to be the greatest in Jesus’ new kingdom (Luke 9:46, 22:24.)
Some of His disciples got special mention for their human failings. Peter is called a rock by Jesus, yet denies Him 3 times in His greatest hour of need. We like to pick on Peter, but I think we treat him a bit too harshly. He may have sunk, but he also got out of the boat and walked on the water. He may have denied Jesus, but he was also the only one to fight for Him and was one of only two who follow Him to the trial. Jesus made it clear after his Resurrection that Peter still had a job to do.
john, the one who wrote the most about love, didn’t start out very loving. He was mean spirited (Luke 9:52-56) and power hungry (Mark 10:35-39.) He must have thought his close relationship with Jesus would give him unique privileges. Yet Jesus had a special love for him (John 13:23, 20:2, 21:7,20.) John eventually got it because he wrote more about love than anyone else whose writing we consider to be God’s word.
We can’t talk about unlikely candidates for God’s work without mentioning Paul. He started out an enemy of the church until Jesus intercepted him. There’s evidence in his letters that he wasn’t a particularly gifted orator or much to look at. Yet no one did more to spread the message. A joke has been floating around the church as long as I can remember listing Paul’s resume as if he were applying for a pastoral position. The point is that none of us would be very likely to hire him. It’s just one more illustration of how God’s standards differ from ours.
My hope in laying all of this out for you is that you will be encouraged to pursue the calling God has placed on your life. Do not be deceived into thinking that your current circumstances or your past prevents you from doing what He has given you to do. Maybe you do not know your calling. Be assured that you have one if He is your Lord. Even if not, He will have His way with you if He has chosen you. Just ask Paul, Moses, or Jonah.
I am constantly amazed at His mercy and grace. I am just as human as all of these. I have hope only because He is my God. He gave himself for me, and I give myself to Him. Trust Him. Do the best you can, but do not fear failure. He is bigger than your failure. Even that will be turned to His glory. Only keep your heart devoted to Him.