The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
If you have a pulse God can use you!
God used a poor English cobbler (William Carey) to translate the Scriptures into many Indian dialects. He used an arrogant assistant (Charles Colson) to the president of the United States to reach prison inmates for Christ. He used an uneducated fisherman (Peter) to be the chief of Jesus’ disciples. He used the captain (John Newton) of a slave-trade ship to write the world’s best known Christian hymn. He used a Hebrew murderer (Moses) to deliver the descendants of Jacob from slavery in Egypt.
And God used a young farmer named Gideon to deliver Israel from the Midianite armies. When he was called, Gideon’s response was predictable: “Me, Lord? You can’t be serious. I’m from the tribe of Benjamin, the weakest of the twelve tribes. And even in my clan, I’m the weakest among the bunch.” After the Midianites had overwhelmed the Israelites and forced them into subservience, could anyone organize and lead the Israelites into battle against their awful task masters? And the Lord was calling on a farmer, a scared farmer hiding from the oppressors, to be such a man. “No way, Lord, can I be that man!”
When God approached Moses about leading His people out from Egypt, Moses the murderer/shepherd could only reply to God with excuses why he wasn’t up to the task (Exodus 3-4). And when God called Jeremiah to be His prophet (Jeremiah 1), once again we see someone reminding God why he couldn’t do it.
YET God did use Moses to lead the people out of Egypt. He did use Gideon to lead Israel in victorious battle over the Midianites. He did use Jeremiah as His mouthpiece even when most of the people refused to hear.
And even when God chooses a smart and gifted person from the top tier of society (like Charles Colson or the apostle Paul), He breaks them and humbles them to make them usable. There is not one person capable on their own to be and do all that God desires. YET, if you have a pulse God can use you. As J. Hudson Taylor (missionary to China) said, “God uses men (people) who are weak and feeble enough to lean on Him”.
Quite often in my prayer times I thank God that He has chosen me – an introvert with very low self-esteem – to accomplish things for His glory. No pat on the back here, I’ve given Gideon and Moses size excuses too, and God always comes back with “My grace is sufficient for you”. You’d think I would have learned by now – “I can’t do it but He can do it through me!!!” As a child I learned John 15:5 “Apart from Me you can do nothing”. I also learned Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Yep, I still remember those verses – locked in my memory. But I haven’t got to the point of believing them all the time. When God comes with a new assignment I do mental gymnastics to try and convince Him that you could do a better job of that. And in those stubborn moments when I will not step out in faith and trust Him to help me do what He wants I miss out on the growth He wants to produce in me and the things He could have done through me. Ah, but in those moments when I say, “Lord, I feel so inadequate for this task, but You are adequate and I trust You to accomplish this through me” – WOW I become an instrument of our all-powerful God and amazing things often take place.
Go ahead and check your pulse. Got one? Then hear the announcer call your name, “You are the next candidate on the “Time is Right” for God to use you in accomplishing a God-sized task”. You are the winner and so are the rest of us when you obey God. You can’t, but He can through you. Go ahead and let God loose in your life.
Yes Lord, use me! Pastor Steve