Movements of God seem to rarely begin with extraordinary people. God almost always finds the weakest, most foolish, most broken, most overwhelmed by the task, most under-qualified people and then He uses them (see 1 Corinthians 1:26-29).
I don’t know about you, but I often find myself in those “sitting on the couch” moments thinking about all of the ways I’m unable, unworthy, and underqualified. Or, I think about how I’ve got too jacked up of a past to do significant things for God.
But then I read the Bible.
Most recently it’s been Acts 1 that has reminded me that movements of God seem to rarely begin with extraordinary people.
Read Acts 1:13.
First of all, think about how absolutely crazy that day (and really the previous month) had been for the disciples. Jesus dies. He was their leader. He was the man they believed to be their Savior. All of this hype had built up over Him establishing and building the kingdom of God. Then suddenly, He’s dead. Then Jesus arose from the dead! Slowly, in the days after His resurrection, things began to click and make sense, but they didn’t know that was supposed to happen. Then Jesus made appearances for 40 days. These 40 days probably felt like victory laps as Jesus showed Himself to a bunch of people post-resurrection. Then, Jesus ascended into heaven and just before leaving, He said, “Go build my kingdom all over the world!”
Can you imagine what that walk back to Jerusalem had to have been like? (See Acts 1:12) It was only ¾ mile but it had to have felt like the longest walk ever!
Then they get back to the house they were staying at and go upstairs. Normally when I get to this list of the people who were in that room, I just hurry past it. But as I’ve been thinking about it, I think it’s highly likely that Luke put this list here very intentionally. It’s almost like he’s scanning the room for us. Jesus has just said, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Then He left it to Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, and more.
Luke wants to show us who Jesus left this task to. These weren’t all-stars. About half of them were blue-collar fishermen. Peter had just denied Jesus and was still probably beating himself up over it. James and John (AKA the “Sons of Thunder”) were still probably fighting over who was going to sit at Jesus’ right hand. Philip had already been totally overwhelmed when Jesus told him to feed the 5,000, so you know he was feeling overwhelmed by the call to go make disciples of all nations. Thomas had his doubts. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was probably in the midst of a roller coaster of emotions.
How do you think the people on this list felt? Surely they felt a little underqualified.
Here’s my point. If Satan can take you out of the ball game and off the battlefield, he will! He has a lot of sneaky tactics, but this is one of his most popular: he wants to lie to you like crazy so you forget who you are in Jesus and what you have in Jesus (it might be helpful to refer to Acts 1:8, 2 Timothy 1:7 and Ephesians 3:20 here).
For too many of us, our goals, ambitions and dreams are way too small. We’ve made plans based on what we think we can realistically accomplish based on what we see in ourselves. Too many of us have too small of a vision for our role in God’s mission because when we look at ourselves (or we weigh ourselves), all we see is the same sort of stuff we see when we look at the disciples sitting in that upper room.
Don’t forget who you are in Jesus and don’t forget what you have in Jesus. Movements of God seem to rarely begin with extraordinary people.
Austin Wadlow and his wife, Lesley, live in Iowa where he serves as the Teaching Pastor and Salt Company Director at Keystone Church in Ankeny, IA. You can connect with Austin via Twitter: @austinwadlow