Guest Author: Ben Puthukeril
Many of us have started our professional careers and know the worries around applying for a job and being interviewed by an employer. Just in the hiring process alone we know that employers look for certain skill sets and strengths in their employees to ensure that they can adequately do the job. They only want the best of the best and the top of the class so that they can get the most productivity out of their business, which translates to high profits. I could tell you right now that some of the most important factors for them would be image, intelligence, and application. Walking into an interview you would have to wear a proper fitted three piece suit with neutral colors that neither shows power or weakness. They would ask for your resume ahead of time, make sure they found certain “key words” that appeal to them, and if so they would see what school you went to, what GPA you graduated with, what classes you took in your related coursework, and what positions you held in the school groups you were associated with. At the interview itself they would ask you the most common questions of what are your strengths and weaknesses, how you would benefit the company, where you see yourself in five years, and then go on into more position specific details. They are trying their best to read in a manner of minutes to evaluate if you are a good fit for their organization and what makes you better or worse that the other countless number of people who applied for that same job.
Could you imagine if God required the same standard for us as Christians? What if we had to meet certain criteria to enter into heaven? What if He only wanted the most moral, righteous, and obedient people to serve Him?
Paul paints a very similar picture with a different perspective when describing our calling as Christians:
For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” | 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Paul, when writing these words, was speaking to the Corinthian church. The Corinthian people were not known for their intelligence, political power, or high class status. They were very ordinary group of people who were mostly comprised of uneducated mid to low class individuals with the exception of a few wealthy business owners and politicians. Paul was trying to reach out to these people to encourage them to live for the Lord regardless of who they were, where they came from, or what they have done in the past. Paul is telling them that God loves them in spite of all their weaknesses and mistakes in life. In fact he goes a step further to say that God loves them THROUGH all of their shortcomings! His main message to the Corinthians was that though they are incapable of standing out among society by themselves, they have something to boast about: The salvation work of Christ on the cross.
For the longest time, I felt that I was in the same boat as the Corinthian church. I thought to myself, “I really don’t have much to offer to the church. I can’t really sing or play instruments, I’m not much of a speaker to give a message, and with all the sin that I have in my life why would God even want to use me?” I didn’t realize it at that point in my life, but God wants THOSE people. He wants the people who are in the deepest of sins, who have totally lost their way, and who feel that they have nothing to offer of value. He LONGS to use those people. Even through the Bible we see time after time how God uses the most incapable, sinful, rejected people to be a living testimony for the glory of His kingdom. I saw the following picture in a devotion I was reading, which clearly describes the individuals that God calls for His work.
Each of these people didn’t seem the most likely to be used for God’s purposes, but despite their sins and downfalls, God used them in extraordinary ways. Each and every one of us has some type of weakness that we constantly fight with. It could be the secret sin that we struggle with, the insecurity of not having a specific talent or skill, or just not seeing how we could be used for God’s glory. Lucky for us, God’s power is shown through us in amazing ways and often better than those people who the world exalts for their fame and talents.
Yesterday, I left for Bogota, Colombia for a mission trip with some of my fellow youth from the different assemblies. I recall my mindset from the first time that I had gone to Columbia around this time last year when we were leading a VBS for the kids. I was thinking to myself that the entire trip would be a waste of time and money for us because of our incapability. There were only five of us who were going, all guys who weren’t the best with kids, none of us spoke the language very fluently, and on top of that we didn’t even have a facility to meet in. I had firsthand experience of how God used each of these shortcomings for His glory. Though we weren’t all good at everything, God brought out His power in our weakness to make each of us capable of doing something. We were able to reach out to a small community and hold a VBS there for five days which eventually turned into a Bible study in that area and then became a church gathering over the course of the year. This time a group of us are going back with that same task on our minds: to see how God will use us for His glory. The only thing that we can boast in is His grace and how remarkably He works in each of our tough situations! Keep this in mind the next time that you feel that your inability or imperfections keep you from serving God. God wants to reveal His glory through your inability and show the world how He can use weak individuals like you and I in mighty ways!