A man surveyed several goat skins that were spread out in the afternoon sun. Bending down, he touched one with his finger. The hides were almost dry enough to be stitched together and made into tents. The thick black goat hairs looked waterproof but, during the first rain, the water would trickle through, soaking everything stored beneath. It wouldn’t be until the tent dried again that the leather would shrink, and no water would ever drip through again.
The man who skinned the goats, dried the hides, and stitched them together into tents was more than just a leatherworker. He was a Christian superhero—leatherworker by day and super-evangelist by night. This same man spoke to crowds of people that often numbered in the thousands. He endured prison, shipwrecks, and near starvation because of the message that he carried. Hundreds upon hundreds of people came to know Jesus because of him. He planted churches all over the then-known world and wrote a good portion of the New Testament. This man’s name was Paul.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the people that God used throughout the Bible. As I look at their lives, one thing strikes me. They are normal people like you and me. Even Paul worked a normal job (by the standards of that time, at least). He was an average guy with an above-average calling.
This tells me something important. What we do for the Lord has absolutely nothing to do with our ability; rather, it has everything to do with our availability. When we respond to His calling on our lives, regardless of how “big” that calling may seem, it is God who works through us to accomplish His purposes.
What I’m about to confess might sound silly, but here it goes. I never really got this truth until recently. Funny, eh? Or maybe just sad. I tend to get so caught up in all of my limitations and deficiencies that I forget that it’s not even about me. Lately, however, as I’ve been making myself available to God, I’m starting to see this principle at work. I’m certainly no Paul (as if there was any question about that!!!), but as I respond in obedience to the things that God is asking of me, people’s lives are being touched—not because of anything wonderful I’m doing, but because the Holy Spirit is moving. It’s amazing.
If we are ready to listen, ready to learn, and ready to obey, God will do things through us that we never dreamed possible. Why? Because God uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things.
Of course, letting God move through us requires us to lay down our will, our pride, our self-sufficiency … basically, our whole selves. That’s another lesson I’m currently learning. More on that next time. =)