Ok, so I am about to give you a ton of hope.
If after you read this post, you think God can't use you, well then, I should keep my day job. This, if you went and just googled the people and the few words about them I am about to share with you, should be all you ever need to live courageously for the rest of your life. This, is a game changer.
NOAH got drunk.
ABRAHAM was too old.
ISAAC was a daydreamer.
LEAH was ugly (y'all those aren't my words)
JOSEPH was abused.
MOSES was a murderer and stuttered.
GIDEON was afraid.
SAMSON had long hair and was a scaredy cat.
RAHAB was a prostitute.
JEREMIAH and TIMOTHY were too young.
DAVID was a murderer and adulterer (yet a man after God's own heart....what?)
ELIJAH was suicidal.
ISAIAH preached naked (it's in the bible people).
JONAH ran from God.
NAOMI was a widow.
JOB went bankrupt (not just a little bankrupt, like bankrupt bankrupt).
JOHN THE BAPTIST ate bugs.
PETER denied Christ three times.
The DISCIPLES fell asleep while praying (ok, you know you have too, and sometimes during the sermon on Sundays...admit it)
MARTHA worried about everything.
MARY MAGDLENE was demon possessed.
The SAMARITAN WOMAN was divorced…more than once…
ZACCHEUS was too small.
PAUL was a murderer.
TIMOTHY had an ulcer.
and LAZARUS was dead!
Are you kidding me right now? Check out that list of misfits. And then check out the chapter headings in Luke 4-5:
Jesus, Tested in the Wilderness
Jesus, Rejected at Nazareth
Jesus, Drives Out Impure Spirit
Jesus, Heals Many
Jesus, Calls His First Disciples
Jesus, Heals a Man With Leprosy
Jesus, Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man
Jesus, Calls Levi and Eats with Sinners
Jesus, Questioned About Fasting
Jesus, King of the World - hung out with, and helped those who were, and then invited them into his small group....losers. And all those who came before Him in the old testament in that list? Losers.
How do you look at who the bible shares as role models and think that you should have it all together? Never lose your temper. Never feel anxious. Never make a bad choice or decision. Never overeat. Never mess up your finances. Never mess up a relationship. Never have a physical ailment. Never preach naked. Ok, ok. I had to, this was getting too serious....but really? Seriously? Read that list of losers above again.
Losers, in Jesus' world, win. Read the chapter headings. Where would we find Jesus? We would find him at our own kitchen tables (well, only if you admit you're a loser). In our homeless shelters and hospitals. With the depressed and discouraged. With the worthless and overlooked. (I am not sure he would be in our churches.....I just don't know if most people there think they need him.)
In April 2013, I traveled with a team from church to Manaus, Brazil for a 10 day mission trip along the Amazon river, where the black water and brown water never mix but run parallel to each other (see some of my photos in collage above). I lived on a boat for 10 days with no electricity or clean running water and slept in a net covered hammock. We installed water filters in villages so the local people could have a single source of clean drinking water. I cannot tell you that I was the hands and feet of Jesus, but I can tell you that the Brazilian people were to me. I traveled a very far way to meet Jesus through those people. Those losers, we thought we were going to help, changed my life and my heart forever. I think that's why Jesus liked hanging out with what Americans call the "underprivileged third world". They invite him in, they need him and want him so desperately. Friends, we are the ones in this country who don't get it. We don't have a reliance on God for all that we need. We don't have unexplainable joy and praise devoid of material possessions. We don't have community where if one is hurting, all is hurting. And we for sure don't have a mindset of having abundance, although we may not have as much as some. Oh, my heart came alive for Christ and the losers in Brazil who introduced me to him!
If you really desire to live your purpose, you must understand this powerful truth: The very experiences you think have made you a failure, a loser, the ones you have resented going through or have regretted causing - the ones that you feel completely disqualify you from accomplishing anything worthwhile - those experiences, choices and situations you're ashamed and embarrassed about are the very experiences God wants you to use to help others. They ARE your qualifications! And if they helped you admit you're a loser who needs Jesus well then friend, YOU WON!
Brian Zahnd said it this way:
The gospel is this: Jesus is for losers. The truth is this: Everybody is a loser…it’s just that some know it and others are better at faking and denying it.
Honestly, this blog doesn't have enough room to tell you all the truths of the bible and who you truly are in Christ. Again, for another blog post, but know this: like the list of men and women above, God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called and it is not usually through Ivy League educations, lifestyles of the rich and famous and never having been told no entitlement. It's through pain, loss, depression, sickness, pride, envy, addiction, devastation and having a freak apart every now and again. Jesus wasn't born in a palace into a place of earthly royalty and position. He was born in a manger, and lived a humble life and ministered to the broken, the losers. If He came today, would he be hanging out with you? Within your pain, lies your purpose. Don't waste your pain, use it to help others and do not allow satan to tell you that your present situation is your final destination, you loser.