by: Ian Andrew Nelson
We all want to be exceptional and extraordinary.
Living in a day and age of celebrity culture, it’s hard not to get sucked into the desire to stand out or be well known by others. However, the surprising thing is, when you read the Bible—those aren’t the types of people who God most often uses for extraordinary things.
One of my favorite passages in the whole Bible is 1 Corinthians 1:26–29, when the Apostle Paul says:
“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”
You see, God has a knack for using the ordinariness of humanity to glorify Himself. He uses foolish people to shame the wise, the weak to shame the strong. In fact, that’s His style. He loves to use people who are not well known or the most talented, because then it’s obvious that it was God who did something awesome, and not some awesome person.
I don’t know about you, but this encourages me, because I fit perfectly into Paul’s list. I’m just a nobody, originally from a small town in the middle of nowhere, a town with nothing but a school and cows. Growing up, my family lived below the American poverty line for ten years. In middle school, I was voted class clown. In high school, I was sent to detention because in the middle of an exam, I jumped up onto a desk and started acting like a velociraptor, just because someone dared me to. (True story!)
On top of that, there’s all kinds of other stupid things I’ve done and mistakes I’ve made in life (but I’ll save those stories for another time). My point is, now I’m actually a pastor at a church. I’m not famous, but I’ve had the joy of being a part of some amazing things that God is doing in the world. And ya know what? That’s exactly the kind of thing that God does with all kinds of people, all the time.
Jesus takes the nobodies and anybodies, the average and the under-achievers—and He takes the losers and the failures and the least-likely-to-succeed and the kid who acts like a dinosaur in class—and when they simply say “yes” to being a disciple of Jesus, He changes them and uses them for the most extraordinary things.
Never, ever underestimate Jesus’ ability to take anyone and completely transform them and use them for amazing things when they simply follow Jesus with their lives.
I don’t know where you’re at today. Maybe sometimes you feel like you’re just a guy in a cubicle. Or just another student, or just another dropout, or just another addict, or just another one of the 54+ million profiles on Instagram. Well, guess what: you’re exactly the kind of person who God loves to use for the most amazing things. The question is, will you choose to say “yes” to Him today, and believe that He can do anything in your life?
Let me give you some advice from the short 29 years of life I have lived: Stop trying to stand out or be exceptional. Just love God, love other people and be faithful in the ordinariness of everyday life. Don’t worship the idea of being extraordinary. Instead, worship an extraordinary God who constantly uses ordinary people for extraordinary things.
Just say “yes” to Jesus today. And then buckle your seatbelt. Because God just might have something extraordinary up His sleeve for you …