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God Calls Surprising People

1 Corinthians 1:26-29
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 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. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (NIVUK)

What sort of people do you think God might call into His family?  If He were in recruitment the answer would be the brightest brains and a strong desire to achieve the best.  But God is not a Human Resources consultant!  He is the Creator who loves weak and helpless sinners: He wants to save them.  Jesus' selection of disciples showed that.  In fact He does not call many people who would be head-hunted for international corporates; although He does choose some, most might be called the 'rejects of society'.  

The Corinthian church reflected that.  There were not many wealthy and influential people following Jesus who also commanded great respect in the secular world.  The leaders and opinion-formers are often left to wallow in their own pride while insignificant failures learned to follow Jesus.  Their inclusion added fuel to the elitist fire when it was claimed that Christians are simple people who would rather trust than argue their way into God's kingdom.  

It is all part of God's plan to ensure that intellectual boasting, academic pride, power-lust and the cult of celebrity do not rule the church.  Jesus does!  His gospel cannot be reconstructed by clever people: but it is believed by people who have stopped pretending they are successes and know they need God's mercy and grace to cover their many failures.  Their example of faith makes them further despised by arrogant people, but secretly admired by those who long to be forgiven and freed from the burden of worldly ambition.  And God is honoured when nobody boasts in His presence.

Paul was writing to a church which wrongly shunned failures, and celebrated high achievers.  That problem still exists.  All churches need to beware an elitist attitude which values human achievement more than the work of Christ on the cross.  We join God's family on one basis alone – that we are all sinners and need saving through the blood of Jesus Christ.  Anything less than that is not an authentic church.  So it is time to stop boasting and looking down on people who you think are less worthy than you.  Also stop being intimidated by people who think themselves to be better than you.  Start thanking God for Jesus, humbly accept His grace and welcome all those who respond to His call. 

Prayer 
Lord of All. Thank You for calling people from all sorts of backgrounds and cultures. I am sorry for the times I have not honoured humble believers and run after celebrities in the church. Please help me to understand that there is no place for personal boasting, and that Jesus Christ should have all the honour. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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