Let’s start with a question:
Who would you rather be helped by and why: an expert with a superiority complex or a humble novice?
Here we are again, walking into another Christmas season. And one things that I really love about the Christmas story is that here is this most epic moment in human history:
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). (Matthew 1:23)
Jesus. The Messiah. The Savior. God with us. Born.
And everywhere you look, there are normal people, average everyday people, even unimpressive people. This is an overwhelming theme in all of scripture.
These are some of my favorite normal people:
Moses: epic privilege and epic failure, a poor communicator who repeatedly failed. Yet he led the people away from slavery to the doorway of the Promised Land.
Gideon: insecure and unimpressive, a doubter that God had a hard time persuading. Yet he led an incredibly unimpressive army with no resources to incredible victory.
Elijah: he came out of nowhere and spoke boldly, but God had to do something--and He did. Even through Elijah was bold and successful, he dealt with feelings of being alone and being overwhelmed. God didn’t give up on him, and he still was God’s messenger to God’s people.
And when we come Matthew and Luke, Jesus--the Messiah, the Savior of the world, God with us--was surrounded by normal people like Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the wise men.
It doesn’t end there. We have been walking through the book of Acts, and Peter and John were entering the temple when a person who was crippled asked them for help:
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” (Acts 3:6)
Later, the religious authorities were upset about what had happened:
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
The Apostle Paul was a normal guy. He had issues. He even prayed that his weakness would be taken away:
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)
So what? I have issues; they had issues. I have weaknesses; they had weaknesses. I am not perfect; they were not perfect.
But here is the thing: in spite of that all, who they were and what they did mattered.
Biblical narrative repeatedly shows that the people with issues, imperfections, weaknesses, failings--what they did mattered.
As you navigate this Christmas season, as you walk into your week, as you see your local:
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10)
We don’t need to be perfect. We don’t need to be without fault. We don’t need to be the best. Just step up. It matters. What you do matters.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
God is so excited to see what you can do! What you do matters. God is so proud of you. He believes in you. What you do matters.
Let’s end with these questions:
What helps you leap into action?
What can hold you back from taking action?
Is there a person or situation in your world right now that is in need of someone to step up and help?