God uses ordinary people in exordinary ways for His glory.
At first it may seem that that statement isn’t quite right and you may not believe it. After all aren’t only “super Christians” used by God?” You may be thinking, “I’m just a lay person what can God do with you?” Rather than thinking in terms of whether or not you have a seminary degree or extensive ministry experience I want you to go back to the Gospels. Remember the Apostles were uneducated and had no formal theological training before they met Jesus. They walked with Jesus for three years day and night, watching Him perform miracles and hearing Him teach them personally and as He taught others. Do you think that this Jesus the One who called men to follow Him is concerned about titles after one’s name? Don’t get me wrong earning degrees are great, but earning degrees is not ultimate unless they are yielded in submission to King Jesus and used for His glory. God took a shepherd boy and made Him King of Israel. God used a donkey after all to deliver a message. God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways.
First, you may be reading this article and thinking you can never be used by God.
This is exactly what Satan wants you to think. You may think, “I’m totally unworthy to be used by God.” If people only knew, you say how much of a miserable sinner I am they wouldn’t want to hear from me at all. Hogwash! All of us are miserable sinners. Unless you’ve acknowledged your unworthiness you are not ready to be used by God. The fact that you think that you are “totally unworthy” tells me that you are in fact ready to be used by God. I say this of course because mentioning “you are totally unworthy” tells me that you align yourself with Isaiah who humbled himself before the glory of God in Isaiah 6. Isaiah acknowledged he was a man of unclean lips. You are a sinner in need of God’s grace so the fact you acknowledge that shows me you are ready to testify of His grace at work in and through your life.
Second, you may think, “I’m such a failure that God can never use me.”
Look at the Apostle Peter. Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him three times (Matthew 26:34). Peter’s response was he would not deny Jesus (Matthew 26:35). Here’s the thing, Peter did deny Jesus three times and Jesus saw it (Matthew 26:69-75). Imagine that you are the Apostle Peter the leader of the Apostles and a member of the inner circle of the Son of God Jesus Christ and you deny him three times. You would feel devastated, shame and guilt ridden. You say, “I’m such a failure that God can never use you” but that isn’t true. God uses our failure, hardship and trials for His glory. He turns what was meant for bad and uses it to testify to His grace. You say that you are a failure and yet God says because of the finished work of Christ you are victorious. The Apostle Peter went on to be mightily used of God because He was broken by God. You may be broken right now but in due season God will build you up and use you for His glory. Don’t run from Him run to Jesus. God uses ordinary people for His glory.
Third, you may have many degrees but God uses humble people.
Look at the Apostle Paul. Paul was one of the most educated men of his day and yet God brought him low in Acts 9. God opened his eyes to the beauty and glory of Jesus. Once Paul knew Jesus all of his education, gifts and talents were directed towards the Gospel. The Lord uses those humbled by a vision of His greatness and glory to testify to the proud and religious of the splendor of His glory. The Lord humbled the Apostle Paul and used him mightily to plant churches, preach the Gospel, write 13 epistles and so much more. God can use educated people for His glory but He often humbles them of their pride so they will rely on Him.
Fourth, the story of the Bible is God using ordinary people in extraordinary ways.
Think of your favorite biblical character or person from church history. Before they were “well-known” they were unknown. The Lord takes nobodies and makes them somebody all by His grace. At the start of my ministry I experienced a great deal of success. That success got to my head and rather than directing it towards God and giving Him glory, I let it go to my head. Several years later the Lord shows me my pride and arrogance about this and I repented. He showed me in reading His Word that He used those who were broken and humble rather than those who were haughty. He showed me from His Word that He cares about holiness and growth in His grace. You may think you are the biggest thing to hit the Christian scene but if you think that you are not interested in serving others or glorifying God. Ministry is about serving others and making much of God.
Finally, God has given each person a gift to steward for His glory.
You may not have many gifts, talents or abilities but every single Christian can be mightily used of God. Charles Spurgeon was converted to the Gospel under the preaching a lay preacher. Martin Luther was convicted of his sin and came to saving faith after studying the books of Psalms and Romans. Your story may be completely different than that, but whatever gift, talent, or ability God has given you—use it for His glory. Whatever influence whether great or small use it for His glory. God may not give you a great deal of influence and that is okay. Focus not on the breadth of your ministry but on the depth of your ministry from God’s Word. Remember, it is not the most able who are blessed in their ministry it is the most holy.
God uses broken people and makes them whole.
God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways for His glory. God used a lawyer in high school to disciple me to grow in His grace. He’s also used many “ordinary” people with no Bible college or seminary education to disciple me. God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways as a testimony for His grace and glory. So, the next time you feel you are a failure, that your sin disqualifies you from service or you are better than someone—remember the Gospel. The Gospel that saved you, is sanctifying you and will one day glorify you is the power of God. God uses all sorts of people with all sorts of gifts, talents and abilities as a testimony of His grace that His name would be made famous among the nations. God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways to advance His Gospel.
If you are hungering for more of God, and desire to be used by Him then use whatever gifts, talents and abilities you have and direct them in the right direction towards God, motivated by a desire for His glory by using your God-given gifts and talents in the local Church and beyond to edify God’s people and expand the Kingdom of God. Then you will join the multitude of ordinary saints before you who became extraordinary because they served a God who is glorified not by self-serving people but people who are humbled by His grace and holy before Him. As Robert Murray McCheyne once said, “A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.” In other words, if we are constantly making our own spiritual progress, advancing in Christ-likeness, growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18), we will find to whatever degree God has determined, His blessing will follow in our wake. Entrust whatever ministry and whatever gifts you have to God, and use them in His power energized by His Spirit for His glory. Watch as God grows you in His grace and uses you in extraordinary ways in the lives of His people for His glory.
Dave Jenkins is happily married to his wife, Sarah. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021), The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022), and Contentment: The Journey of a Lifetime (Theology for Life, 2024). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.