I am a dreamer & a goal-setter. Putting those practical plans into place, though…that’s another story. I am 100% ENFP. Look it up. You’ll see my picture next to the description. Anyway, I’m trying to be more of a do-er than just a dreamer, so here I am. Two of my goals/resolutions/hopes for the new year are to read more and to write more. A year and a half later, finally writing another blog post…Check me out, getting a head start on my goal and everything. ; )
Yesterday and this morning, I read the first few chapters of 1 Corinthians. A few key words stuck out to me: foolish, lowly, chose, wise or wisdom…
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. He 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. [1 Corinthians 1:27-28]
Verse 27 seems to be a bit of an oxymoron. (I just finished a unit on figurative language with my 8th graders. See, kids? We actually do use this stuff. 😉 ) God chose the foolish to shame the wise? God chose the weak things to shame the strong?
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. [1 Corinthians 1:26]
Not many were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth…and yet He chose to use them. This is the beauty of the Gospel. God consistently uses the poor and powerless, the awkward and average, the nervous and “nobodies,” to make His Name great.
And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [2 Corinthians 12:9]
This past semester the 7th graders in my Bible class and I went through all the books between Acts and Galatians. We studied the history of the early church, Paul’s missionary journeys, and some of the letters he wrote to the believers. Over and over again, Paul shares the Gospel with his audience, reminding them of its transforming truth on their lives and the urgent need and responsibility to then share that Truth with others. One of the objectives I have for my students is to leave this class able to share the Gospel clearly and concisely with someone if the opportunity arises. [Shout out to CRU & Roger Hershey for all that training! #plusoneconversations]
We practiced in class, we discussed the how and the why of sharing our faith, we reminded ourselves of the meaning of the Gospel. But with middle schoolers, you just never know if what you’re saying is actually sinking in…or if all they’re hearing is waaah waaah waaah waaah like the teacher in Peanuts. [Just bein’ real here.]
Last week, on the last week of the class before I get a new group of 7th graders, I was reminded of the transforming power of the Gospel and God’s consistent use of the weak (in the world’s eyes) for His purposes.
One of my seventh graders who is a little more hesitant and less confident than others in the class shared that over the weekend she felt “like the Holy Spirit was telling [her] that [she] really needed to tell [her] grandma about the Gospel.” She admitted that she was afraid, but her grandmother had been wrestling with health issues and wasn’t expected to live long. “I wanted my grandma to know Jesus,” my student said. “I remembered what we’ve been talking about in class, so I talked with my grandma, and she became a Christian! She prayed a really sincere prayer and thanked God for bringing me to her,” my student shared. “It felt really cool.” (understatement 🙂 )
God used a twelve-year-old girl to share the Gospel with a woman years older than she is. She didn’t come “with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to [her] the testimony of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1). But she did come with the power of the message of the cross!
I was so proud and so humbled that afternoon, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. “The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25). The Gospel is an oxymoron. God’s ways and His plans often seem like oxymorons. He can and does use each one of us, if we are willing and obedient to His Spirit’s leading. He uses the weak. He uses the young. He uses the old. He uses who He uses for His perfect plan.
2000+ years ago, there was another teenage girl who was lowly, normal, average in the world’s eyes. Yet He chose this willing, humble, obedient girl to carry and bring the Savior Emmanuel (God with Us) into the world in human flesh.
And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name….He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate.’ [Luke 1:46-49, 52]
That is the Gospel. That is Christmas.