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One of my fondest childhood memories is of playing sports with the neighborhood kids. As kids, we never had a set game schedule or stats to use in making teams, we just wanted to have fun and not be the last person picked for the basketball game. Looking back, I think it was understood that if you were selected last, it was because you were not seen as useful or the player with the most talent. While there may be some objective truth regarding talent and ability, there is also a spiritual principle to be learned. The Lord exercises His wisdom, judgment, and grace when He determines who indeed is useful and those who are not. We will explore this more by looking at both the Old and New Testaments.
In addition to the emphasis typically placed on Mary and the birth of Jesus, there is another powerful account of a supernatural childbirth that is told in the Scriptures of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. Elizabeth was older in age and was known to have a barren womb. The faithfulness of God allowed her to have a baby despite the natural and physical circumstances. In Elizabeth’s case, she too demonstrated faithfulness. She provided a place of comfort, support, and refuge for Mary as she was awaiting the arrival of her son Jesus. As a faithful loved one, Elizabeth was simply there for Mary. Elizabeth, despite the age difference, served Mary and spoke blessings over her by calling her blessed as well as calling the fruit of her womb blessed. Mary could have thought of herself as unworthy to carry the Messiah in her womb and Elizabeth could have identified solely with barrenness. Outsiders may have had a difference of opinion, but we see how what is deemed impossible actually comes to pass when they put their trust in a word from the Lord.
This concept is also played out in the Old Testament as the Lord comforted Joshua with these words in Joshua 13:1 (NLT), “...You are growing old and, much land remains to be conquered.” The Lord is encouraging Joshua that despite his age, he is still usable by God. Joshua had studied under Moses and was a faithful servant to the Lord. He could be trusted to carry out God’s plan and do so with the right heart and spirit.
Physical limitations are not a barrier to advancing God’s kingdom. He makes a great impact on the earth using heavenly resources through regular people who love Him. Each of us has the opportunity to bring His name glory and an opportunity to be used by His mighty power.
1 Corinthians 1:26-28 says,
“Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world's eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.
Be encouraged, knowing whatever limitations, inadequacies, or shortcomings you may have, you are in good company, like Joshua and Elizabeth. Endeavor to keep a pure heart and a lifestyle that honors God so the Lord can use you to do great things here on the earth.
Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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