Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" ~ Isaiah 6:8
In Sunday School, we have been studying the book of Judges. Recently, we read about Samson, the incredibly strong character responsible for pushing pillars down with his bare hands to defeat the Philistines. The title of this lesson was “When the Deliverer Needs Deliverance” which I found quite amusing. The storybook version of Samson’s tale never really leads us to believe that he is anything but a servant for God. I had always believed him to be a little naive. However, when we dug into the scripture, his womanizing, prideful, and selfish ways came to light. He wasn’t so perfect after all.
So that made me wonder! Who else in Biblical history was an unlikely pick for kingdom work? This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just a few key examples I found interesting.
Noah drank too much.
Abraham was really old.
Joseph was abused and sold into slavery.
Moses had a speech impediment.
Rahab was a prostitute.
Samson was a prideful womanizer.
Jonah ran the other way.
David was an adulterer.
Martha was a worrier.
Peter denied Jesus three times.
Paul persecuted Christians.
Talk about a flawed bunch! There are many more examples in the Bible of unlikely candidates for God’s work, but in each story we realize that our God is much bigger than our mistakes. Besides, if He always picked people who were in good standing, had perfect histories, and all the skills necessary for the job… well, how would anyone see God in that? Wouldn’t they just see a successful person and God’s role would be hidden behind it all? Just as “it is by grace [we] have been saved, through faith—and this is not from [ourselves]... so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8), God uses this similar logic to propel His plan. He uses ordinary (and sometimes atypical) people to do extraordinary things. Just think… our own Savior was born into a carpenter’s family. Not a priest’s or a king’s but a regular family.
May we be reminded of these Biblical examples when we feel unworthy of kingdom work. If God can use these unlikely characters, He can certainly use each one of us regardless of our blemishes. God knows we are a faulty and sinful people, and yet He finds ways to grow us closer to Him as He simultaneously uses us to build His kingdom. God changed Samson, Jonah, Paul, and others over time, but He didn’t wait for perfection before He used them. He doesn’t expect perfection from us either… just pure hearts, willing feet, and kingdom eyes. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good” (Psalms 136:1). Thanks be to God!