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When God looks for someone to accomplish His purposes on earth, what kind of man or woman is He looking for?
It may not be the people you would guess. We might immediately say, “educated people.” Or maybe “talented and gifted people.” Or even, “People who are almost perfect.”
But that’s not what we see in the pages of Scripture. To begin with, we see that God uses ordinary people.
You always hear the excited buzz when some famous athlete or celebrity embraces faith in Christ (or at least appears to). We want to say to nonbelievers, “Look, we have Celebrity X on our side now!” And then we want to put them on Christian TV and rush them out into the public to represent us, disregarding the warning from Scripture that tells us to not elevate a new convert. But so often, that celebrity falls short, and we are embarrassed.
For His part, God seems to go out of His way to choose the unexpected person. Why? So that, as it says in Scripture, “No man may boast before God” (1 Corinthians 1:29, NASB).
When the religious elite of Jerusalem encountered Peter and John after the resurrection of Jesus, they didn’t know what to make of them. Weren’t these men just common, uneducated fishermen? Where did all the boldness and the penetrating speech come from? Why were these men so different? Then they acknowledged that these men had been with Jesus.
You see, God wants the glory for what He has done and is doing. And the recruits He looks for to carry His work forward will probably look very different from the people we might have picked. We get hung up on a person’s appearance or their list of accomplishments. But God looks right past that into the heart.
So God uses ordinary people. Who else does He use? He uses truly spiritual people. I’m not speaking here of some pompous “holier-than-thou” type, but the real thing. The most spiritual people I have met have been very down to earth. I have no interest in some phony head-in-the-clouds mysticism, but rather a genuine day-by-day relationship with the living God.
Knowing and walking with God is an essentially practical matter, and those who really know Him will be some of the most real and touchable people you will ever meet. The heroes of the Bible – men and women like Jacob, Moses, Gideon and Esther – weren’t cardboard cutouts; they put their sandals on one foot at a time like the rest of us. They were human through and through.
That’s the way it was with David, who became Israel’s most renowned king. He was a thoroughly practical man, but also deeply committed to God. He had a deep hunger for God and a strong commitment to what was right.
In Psalm 57:7 (KJV), he wrote, “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed.” That was David’s heart – focused, not fickle, meditative, yet brave and courageous. David’s single, burning desire in life was to please God. It sounds a little like the apostle Paul. He, too, had that clear, singular aim and objective: “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Mary of Bethany had it, as she sat at Jesus’ feet drinking in every word. At that point, her sister Martha did not have that singular focus, leading Jesus to say, “Martha , Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Do you have this clear focus and aim in your life? Or do you have “double vision” as you find yourself trying to live in two worlds? Our greatest danger in life is in permitting the urgent things – those pressing, insistent details of life – to crowd out the truly important.
When God looks for people He wants to use, He also looks for faithful people. As a young man, before he was anointed to be king, young David’s primary responsibility was his dad’s sheep! Not armies. Not battles. Not kingdoms. Not alliances. Just a flock of woolies in the wilderness.
But it was a responsibility he took very seriously. He later mentions that he went one-on-one with both lions and bears to protect those sheep – and he took them down! Out there in the open country, he would spend hours worshipping the Lord while he watched that little flock.
Just because God has called you to be a leader, doesn’t mean you’re ready right now! There are always a series of tests first. It was this way before Elijah anointed Elisha, before Moses passed the baton to Joshua, and before Joseph was prepared to step into a huge position of responsibility.
Young Joseph, you may remember, had been filled with visions of grandeur. He had a dream and rightly envisioned his brothers bowing before him. But some things are best kept to yourself. Perhaps God has given you a dream, a vision of what you will be. Don’t go boasting of it to everyone; just be faithful in what He has set before you. If it is really from Him, it will happen, but not through your manipulation and conniving.
Even after David had received word from God that he was due for a big promotion, he didn’t let that throw him off track or change his life. Instead, he just kept on faithfully doing what he had been doing previously.
And when did he meet Goliath, in that defining moment of his life, had he been out looking for fame and glory? No, he was an errand for his dad, delivering cheese sandwiches to his brothers on the battle line. Sometimes it’s funny how God works. It was faithfulness on a simple errand that would result in David’s first big victory.
These are a few of the qualities that catch God’s eye. He’s looking for ordinary people who truly want to please Him and show that by their day-in, day-out faithfulness.