Dustan and I have been listening to a sermon series on Paul and while listening, I heard a familiar story. I am sure you have heard it, so I will only briefly touch on it here.
Three trees stood together on a hill. They dreamed of big things. Huge things. GOOD things.
But their dreams were shattered when they were cut down. One was made into a feed trough for animals. Another was built into an ordinary fishing boat. The third was cut down and the wood lay in a lumber yard for years.
The story builds and culminates, and brings our sentiments to tears when we realize that the feed trough held a baby Jesus. That it’s dream of being something bigger came to fruition as it held the Savior of mankind as he slumbered his first night.
That second tree, found joy as it carried Christ out onto the waters of Galilea.
That third tree was horrified but ultimately humbled as the man from Nazareth hung from its limbs and died.
But, as I heard that story, I thought again about how God uses ordinary things. Ordinary PEOPLE.
Last week I had listened as the speaker ran through the great tale of a Sunday school teacher who shared his faith with one man, and several men later, was instrumental in the conversion of Billy Graham.
But. What if?
What if those stories were written, or happened differently?
What if the first tree became, simply, a trough for feeding animals? What if it never did more than feed cows and never held more than musty hay?
What if that boat never did more than hold smelly fish, and eventually sunk to the bottom of the sea never to be thought about again?
What if the lumber had been made into doors. Just ordinary doors with no story, no sentiment, just ordinary usefulness?
What if that Sunday school teacher shared his faith with Matt Smith, who shared his faith with John Jones, who then was instrumental in sharing his faith with Micheal Brown, who is now a math teacher in Podunk Arkansas and who has never been heard of outside his town?
What if the stories were not sentimentally grandiose?
Would they be any less important?
What if I was washing dishes in Belleville instead of doing Bible studies in the Andes mountains?
What if I was sitting in a cubicle transcribing medical documents instead of sharing my faith with taxi drivers in Loja?
What if I was sitting at my son’s ballgame instead of of talking to children in the market of a developing country?
Would my story be any less grand? Would I be any less important?
Cows need to eat.
Fishermen need boats. (just ask my grandpa)
Every house needs a door.
And Matt Smith is a hero to John Jones.
I would like to suggest that our greatness lies not in what we are used for, but in that we are used at all.
Creator of my soul, molder of my being, Savior of my very life,
Use me as I scrub potatoes in a kitchen.
Use me as I hang my laundry.
Use me when I talk to my children.
Use me as I write, as I sit, as I pray, as I walk.
Please, just use me. For ordinary things. To meet your purpose unknown.
To meet your purpose known.
I just ask...
to be used.
I do not have to be a manger that holds a King, a boat that carries the greatest teacher in all of history, or a direct contact to the Salvation of all of humanity.
If I can feed one child, teach one person, and lead one woman to her Savior...
I will be humbly joyful for your purpose in my life.
If your purpose for my life is no greater than what I see in front of my eyes, then I will be forever joyful for the opportunity
to be used.