Growing up as a kid, my family didn’t go to church. I don’t recall ever praying, and I certainly didn’t read the Bible.
As far as I could tell, the Bible was just a book of ancient history and was filled with places and people whose names I could not pronounce. Besides, even though I hadn’t read it, I was certain it was only about rules and regulations — things we should do and things we shouldn’t.
Plus, I was pretty certain the stories were of people who were only of the best character — pillars of society, people of such high esteem that I could never measure up to their standards.
Much later, when I became a Christian, I took another look, and was I ever surprised. Those “pillars of society” were just regular people like me.
Abraham, who God promised to make into a nation, was a liar. Moses, who God used to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt, was a murderer. Jacob, who after his encounter with God was blessed and became Israel, was a scoundrel.
And King David, touted as the greatest king of all time, was an adulterer! People who were at best average and certainly flawed were shown as people God could use to change the world.
I wondered what it was that made these heroes of the Bible so special. As I did more research, I began to notice a common theme. It didn’t really matter who you were or what you had done. What really mattered was the ability to be open to God and allow God to use you. And that was when I realized all of the hope the Bible contains.
I know I will never be the person I would like to be. I will always be flawed and struggle to do that which God wants me to do. I’m human, and I get that.
No, what the Bible has shown me is that no matter where I am, if I allow myself to be open and used by God, even I can help change the world for the better.
Maybe it leads me to the soup kitchen to assist with serving the hungry. Maybe it leads me to a homeless shelter to counsel and assist those in need. It may lead me to a mission field, either in this or another country, to help bring basic necessities to those without. It may mean using my voice for folks who have been silenced for too long. There are so many ways that God can use our talents if we just allow him to do so.
You see, it really doesn’t matter who you are. All it requires is a willingness to be open to being used by God. I don’t know about you, but that is good news for me. It reminds me that no matter how “average” I am, no matter how “flawed” I may be, God loves me and can use even me to make this world a better place. And the really great news is that this is true for you as well!
The Rev. David Wise is pastor of Otterbein United Methodist Church in Greenfield. This weekly column is written by local clergy members. Send comments to email@example.com.