In order to get noticed, you gotta stand out. Be the best. The smartest. The most athletic. The most successful. The nicest. The prettiest…and all the other “est” words you can think of. A culture of competition isn’t even a bad thing. It’s the way we set standards and make achievements.
But Jesus doesn’t operate that way.
Thank goodness because there isn’t anything terribly remarkable about me.
In fact, the pattern in the Word of God shows us that God likes taking average Joes and totally turning their lives upside-down by using them in unbelievable ways for His Kingdom. He likes using the underdogs with the seeming disadvantages.
In Bible-time culture it was the oldest in the family that always got honored. Yet God chose Abel, the youngest brother. And Jacob – also the youngest. And David, the youngest. And Joseph, the youngest (until Benjamin).
When Jesus was born, God didn’t send the angels announcing the good news to King Herod or anyone of noble heritage. He sent them to the stinky, dirty shepherds that spent more time with sheep than actual people.
When it was time for the Israelites to leave captivity in Egypt, God didn’t pick a man with a commanding presence who could go to Pharaoh and “wow” him with his persuasive abilities. He picked Moses who had difficulty speaking well and needed to take his brother to help him communicate.
And the Israelites! They are a story in and of themselves! God should’ve chosen people who had a homeland and dignity. This group of people was wandering around in the desert after years of slavery. No home, no food, no water with disadvantages on every side! But God used THEM to build His Kingdom and chose THEM to be His people and worship Him.
When Jesus called his disciples he picked fishermen – nobody special. He even picked a tax collector – the social scum of the era.
Today God has chosen us to be His people, bear His name, build His Kingdom, and bring Him glory. But we are a lot like Moses, who upon hearing the calling of the LORD said,
“Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Exodus 4:10
Poor Moses was desperately trying to get out of the task. But God said,
“Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” Ex. 4:11a-12
The journey ahead of Moses wasn’t an easy one, but He went on to know the LORD – in such a way that he reflected (literally) the light of God’s glory. I’m sure at the end of his road, Moses would’ve admitted that it was the greatest honor of his life to be used for God’s purposes.
We need to stop telling God what we can and can’t do. And we need to stop trying to convince Him that He made a bunch of nobodies.
There are no “average Joes” in the Kingdom of God because His Spirit lives inside of us. That is anything but average and leaves us anything but incapable. Romans 8:11 reads,
The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.
I am so incredibly thankful to God. I don’t have to stand out to be noticed by Him. I don’t have to “be somebody” to grab His attention. He pours His love out on me just because. He gives me His Spirit just because. He enables me to work for an eternal purpose just because. He chose me just because.
Just because its brings Him glory.
It’s ok to be an average Joe. Embrace it. God likes them.