When I became a Christian, I was amazed to realize that God would forgive someone like me, that he would change me and that he had a plan for my life.
But when it came to God actually using me for his purposes, I wondered what I could bring to the table. I wasn't some great academic. I wasn't a musician. And I wasn't an orator.
I was just a 17-year-old kid with not a lot to offer to God. In fact, I felt a little like the boy in the New Testament story of the Feeding of the Five Thousand. He had a few barley loaves and a couple of fish, yet Jesus multiplied them.
The thought that God could use me amazed me, actually. And I had been a believer for about two weeks when I heard that I should be out telling people about Christ. So I thought I'd give it a go. I saw a woman about the age of my mom sitting on the beach in Newport Beach, and I thought she might be nice to me.
So I walked up to her, and with my voice shaking, I engaged her in a conversation about Jesus. I'm sure I made a mess of it that day, but much to my shock and delight, she said yes when I asked her if she would like to accept Christ into her life.
Afterward I thought, "I want to do this more." I wanted God to use me in other ways. A lot of time has passed since then, but I can honestly say the greatest joy I know, next to being a Christian, is being used by God. What a privilege it is.
In the book of Ezekiel, chapter 22, God said, "I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn't have to destroy the land, but I found no one" (verse 30 NLT).
Think about that. I believe God is still looking for people to use. He's looking and saying, "Is there someone I could use, someone who could stand in the gap? Is there someone who could speak up for me, who would not be embarrassed or afraid? Is there someone who would just take a little bit of risk and let me speak through them?"
Years ago, a young man named Dwight Lyman Moody was working in a shoe store. His coworker shared the gospel with him, and as a result Moody became a believer. Then one day someone said to him, "The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to Him."
Moody thought, "By the Holy Spirit in me I'll be that man."
So he went from selling soles to saving souls. God used D.L. Moody powerfully to touch thousands, even millions, of people.
And God is still looking for the man or woman he could work through who is fully committed to him.
Everyone has a pulpit, wherever they are. That pulpit, so to speak, is the people we influence. It might be the people we run into when we get our morning coffee or the people around us at work. It's people in our families and in our neighborhoods. That's our platform, our pulpit.
I am reminded of the teacher who sent me this letter recently:
Dear Pastor Greg,
I'm a high school teacher in a pretty tough area. As a public school teacher, I have to find creative ways of witnessing to students and sharing the love of Jesus with them, because Jesus is a very foreign concept to many of the students here.
So I decided to give the students some extra credit if they would go to the Harvest Crusade over the weekend.
I'm very happy to report that a few the students gave their lives to Jesus, and several were asking me questions, which is an amazing opportunity to plant more seeds. The crusade got many of the students thinking about things they never hear about in their homes.
My prayer is those that saw the crusade and haven't made that decision will make that decision. But no matter what, I'll keep in contact with these kids and continue to be a witness to them.
Now, that is someone who's using his pulpit effectively.
Then there's Kanye West, who says he's a follower of Jesus Christ now. He released an album last year called "Jesus Is King." He's done pop-up services around the country, which thousands of people have attended.
In an interview he said, "Now that I'm in service to Christ, my job is to spread the gospel, to let people know what Jesus has done for me. I've spread a lot of things. There was a time I let you know what high fashion had done for me, I was letting you know what the Hennessy had done for me … now I'm letting you know what Jesus has done for me."
I think it's fantastic, because he's taking his considerable platform (and he has quite a platform) to talk about faith. It has people talking about Jesus. And I'm happy for that conversation.
I applaud anyone who makes any movement toward God, and I want to encourage them in that.
You don't have to be a preacher to have a pulpit. We all have a pulpit to preach from, no matter who we are, no matter what we do.