The Last Pick
Remember as a kid, that feeling that you would get when it was time to pick teams on the playground? You know what I’m talking about. The kids are gathered around the ball, and two captains are chosen. The job of the captains is to select their team. Oh, the angst and anticipation. One by one, the kids are chosen, starting with the most athletic, the most accomplished, the most desirable, progressing to the least athletic, the least accomplished, the least desirable. As the number on the side of the selectees dwindled and the number on the side of the selected grew, there was that inevitable sad progression toward the final four, final three, final two, then ultimately the final one: the last pick. Oh, the shame! The sheer humiliation on that last one picked, and one least wanted. The selection process was the official vote by his/her peers as “Least Likely to Succeed” at whatever activity being played. Hopefully, this illustration didn’t resurface any childhood issues for you.
Praise God He doesn’t use the same metric that school children use in selecting whom He wants to use for His purposes. The Bible is filled with examples of this.
Abraham, although referred to as the father of the faithful, had his moments of doubt, like when he tried to pass his wife Sarah off as his sister. Jacob, the deceiver. Moses and his speech problem; And, what about Aaron: Mister “I simply threw this gold into the fire and out came this calf.” Talk about the lamest excuse for disobedience and sin. Yet, still used by God.
And, the list goes on. Gideon was hiding as a coward. Samson had a bit of a problem with women (to say the least). As did David. As did Solomon. All still used by God.
God’s Selection Process
I think the point is clear. God does things differently. As stated in Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”
One of the many different approaches of God in comparison to man is the selection process for those He uses. While we look for the one who seems the most capable, the most talented, the most obvious, God often takes the exact opposite approach, often using the least obvious choice. As seen in 1 Cor. 1:27, “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.”
The comparison of Saul and David are great examples of this. When Saul is chosen and anointed as king, the people are greatly impressed as Saul was literally head and shoulders above the rest. He was apparently a physical specimen that caused people to take notice. David, on the other hand, was overlooked even in his own home by his own family. When they did take notice of him, they simply looked down on him as the shepherd boy. But, God not only noticed him; God anointed him as king. Incredible!
Unlikely Sparks for Revival
But, how does this translate to us today? God delights in using us: all of us. Even those whom we might perceive as impossible to use or the last possible choice.
For example, Peggy Smith was an 84 year-old blind woman living in the Hebrides Isles, with her sister Christine, who was severely arthritic. Their health was so poor they could no longer attend church service. If you were selecting teams, they would not have been among the first drafted. On the surface, you wouldn’t think these two women would make any impact for the Kingdom of God, but you would be wrong.
Since they were unable to attend services, they turned their cottage into a prayer sanctuary, specifically praying that God would move in their country. Peggy’s pastor heard of the focused prayer time and agreed to join in fervent prayer for a mighty movement of God. He began spending Tuesday and Friday evenings in prayer in a barn and was eventually joined by other men, who continued to pray in this manner for three months.
God turned the prayers of these saints into the Hebrides Revival in 1949. Two women, one blind and the other in constant arthritic pain, used by God as catalysts for an earth-shaking revival.
And then there is Florrie Evans, the young girl who stood up in a small church in Wales to confess her love for Jesus after an intense spiritual struggle. She simply stood up and said, “I love the Lord Jesus with all my heart.” God broke loose in her church, in her nation, and throughout the world, using the simple testimony of a teenager as a spark that ignited a worldwide revival.
Why Not You?
Then, there’s you. The good news is that if you have been born again, you are already on God’s team. The even better news is that God wants to use you as an impact player.
You might be a senior adult, or you might be a teenager. Odds are you are probably somewhere in between. You need to know that God wants to use you. Could it be that you might be the catalyst for the next great movement of God?
Surrender to God. Trust God, and let God use you. Start praying. Start a prayer meeting.
It’s time for us to rise up and be used of God. Don’t delay, and don’t allow the devil to convince you that you aren’t usable. Trust, Surrender, and be used.
Blake Newsom, Ph.D. serves as Associate Professor of Expository Preaching and Director of the Caskey Center for Church Excellence at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Previously, he served as Dean of the Chapel at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as well as Senior Pastor of Dauphin Way Baptist Church in Mobile, AL.