Have you ever wondered how your life’s story would read if it were part of the Bible? Would it be complicated or comical? Melodramatic or monotonous? Apathetic or adventurous? Heartbreaking or heroic?
I wonder what Moses thought of the whole Exodus story. His exploits were definitely legendary – the stuff blockbusters are made of – literally! However, his insecurities laid bare when God told him to appear before Pharaoh. He protested to God by asking, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11 NLT)
Ruth’s story in the eighth book of the Old Testament offers the reader a clear foreshadowing of Jesus the Redeemer. Ruth would be amazed to know that the account of two widows from Moab had been documented so well. She would no doubt smile as she read of the extraordinary kindness of Boaz. Their union allowed her to be named in Matthew’s lineage of Jesus. She may have repeatedly asked the same question she first asked Boaz, “What have I done to deserve such a kindness? I am only a foreigner.” (Ruth 2:10 NLT)
And what about David? When God sent the prophet Nathan to tell him that his family had been chosen to become the royal and perpetual dynasty of Israel, David responded with, “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family that you have brought me this far.” (2 Samuel 7:18 NLT)
If we’re honest, few of us believe our names deserve top billing on a movie marquee, much less the pages of Scripture. We wonder how our lives could ever become page turners. After all, we’ve never parted the Red Sea, maybe never shown the loyalty of Ruth, nor slayed a 9-foot giant with a stone and a slingshot. In comparison, we consider our lives to be insignificant and boring. We may repeatedly ask ourselves or at least secretly think, “Who am I, and what difference can I possibly make?”
It’s true, few of us will be remembered as heroic spiritual leaders like Moses. Instead, most of us will be called to be ordinary influencers like Jethro, Naomi, and Barzillai.
Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, gave him wise advice about delegating responsibilities so that he wouldn’t burn out before they reached the Promised Land. (Exodus 18) Naomi’s age and experience enabled her to encourage her daughter-in-law Ruth in a way that got them out of dire straits. (Ruth 1-4) Barzillai provided food and supplies for David and his men after they fled from David’s power-hungry, throne-seeking son Absalom. (2 Samuel 17)
Whether famous or obscure, all the men and women mentioned in the Bible have at least one thing in common; they each played a part in God’s bigger story of redemption that continues to lead people to Jesus.
Can God also use every part of your story? Just ask Paul. He could have been one to say, “Who am I except a sorry, no-good persecutor of Christians?” Instead, he said, “This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:15-16 NLT)
So, why are we tempted to discount the value of our life experiences? God continues to write and direct powerful stories in our lives that, when shared, slowly open the hearts of others. None of His work is insignificant or boring.
Perhaps your most overlooked area of influence lies with those closest to you. With your spouse, you are the one he/she is glad to meet up with at the end of a long day. With your children, you provide comfort and security. With your grandchildren, you are the one they know loves them no matter what. With your closest friends, you are the one who takes the time to listen and encourage. In other words, you reflect God. But most importantly, with Him you are loved, cherished, and chosen. In Jesus, you are forgiven, accepted, empowered, redeemed, holy, blameless, and blessed with every spiritual blessing!
Pay attention to the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, and even the things you might think are insignificant and boring. Let’s reflect on how God is using all of it. Then, let’s give others permission to enter into our God stories and be inspired.
“Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.
Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.”
Psalm 105:1-2 NLT