Jesus needs you

“Without God man cannot, without man God will not.”   St. Augustine

We all know the story of Jonah and the extraordinary measures God used to get him to carry His message of repentance to the city Nineveh.  And most people know the story of the man in Jesus’ parable of the talents, who buried his talent instead of investing it.  Although Jonah, in running from God, was much more cantankerous than the one-talent guy who simply refused to use his talent, they both were very much alike.  Neither one of them thought God really needed them to do His work. 

Both offered the same excuse for their stubbornness in not doing what God had asked them to do.  Both rationalized that God in His might and sovereignty could do what He bid them to do without them, so why should they bother.  (Jonah 4:2 & Matthew 25:24) 

What they failed to understand about God is that He has chosen to delight Himself in working through the agency of man.  Without man, God will not work His plan of salvation.  This confounded them and it dumbfounds us.  Why would God choose to carry out His majestic plan of saving the world through mortals such as us?  And yet Paul tells us that “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,”  1 Corinthians 1:27 

Those of us who are humble enough to admit that we are foolish and weak are the best clay vessels for such a task because the “all surpassing power to accomplish such things is from God and not from us.”  (2 Corinthians 4:7)  Without God, we cannot do what He is asking us to do.  And so we are completely dependent upon Him.  He encourages us that He has already prepared the good works we are to do beforehand. (Ephesians 2:10)

It is hard to understand this.  Why didn’t God choose to bring Nineveh to repentance without Jonah?  “Why not use angels?” you might ask.  Because His first choice is to use human feet and voices to carry His message of salvation.  That is why an angel sent Philip down a desert road so he would run into an Ethiopian studying Isaiah who needed to hear the gospel. (Acts 8:26)  And that is why Paul is so adamant in writing to the Romans that someone has to go and speak for someone to call upon the Lord and be saved.

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)

We need to reckon with the fact that Jesus has chosen us to be His spokespersons.  What an awesome honor and responsibility.  What a privilege to share His glory in this way!  But to do so, like Jonah, we must go where He directs us and speak what He bids us speak.  What we do and say for Him bears eternal importance. 

If you don’t make your feet and voice available to Him what will He do?  Since He has chosen to work through earthen vessels He will have to find someone else.  What a sad commentary to think that if we do not go, God will have to search for someone else to do the job He uniquely purposed for us.

Kathryn Kulhman had an extraordinary evangelistic and healing ministry in the 1960s & 1970s.   There were a number of things in her life that could have disqualified her from being such a mighty woman of God.  And because of that she often commented that she was God’s second or third choice for such a world impacting ministry.  When I first heard her admit that it caused me to wonder what happened to God’s first choice.  It is sad to think about that. 

You are God’s first choice.  Don’t ask why me or make excuses like Jonah and the one-talent guy.   Settle with the fact that Jesus needs you!  Cast your misconceptions and fears aside and go where He is directing you and say what He is bidding you to say.

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