God loves to use imperfect people

God loves to use imperfect people

I have had the privilege of leading a group of people from my church on a whirlwind tour of church history in recent weeks. There was something great about seeing so many great themes and issues that God’s people had faced throughout the centuries. One thing that struck me was the way that God used some forceful yet imperfect people in significant ways, including:

  • Martin Luther: a man who didn’t cave in when facing extreme opposition, but who stood up for what he believed. He was often quite rude to those with whom he disagreed and made some pretty awful statements about peasants and Jews in his later years. Luther was the right man at the right time, though his imperfections were evident for everyone to see.
  • William Farel: when a young John Calvin wished to retreat into the quiet of a scholarly writing life, the fiery preacher Farel convicted him. When Calvin expressed that he didn’t think he was a suitable person to pastor the church in Geneva, Farel reportedly said:  “May God curse you and your studies if you do not join me here in the work He has called you to!” Calvin agreed. Wouldn’t you?
  • John Knox: a real force of nature, the forceful Presbyterian preacher was trained in Geneva before returning home to Scotland. He made Queen Mary’s life very difficult. Still, he was also responsible for the setting up of a Presbyterian church in Scotland. Never one to back down from a fight, he was very influential and either loved or loathed by those he met.

Some love the so-called ‘heroes of the faith’ and try to emulate them. I am not sure I’d want to emulate any of the men listed above! I prefer a quiet life, so I identify more with Calvin than Farel. I would probably have not been great friends with John Knox, despite him having strong Presbyterian convictions! Yet I can see how these men were used so mightily by God, being the right men at the right time.

It’s a reminder that God loves to use imperfect people in his service. This is a theme all through the Bible. From Moses, who couldn’t speak well, to Gideon, the youngest child of an insignificant clan, through to Peter the fisherman who had temper issues. God so often uses those who are clearly imperfect so that his grace shines through.

Maybe you and I are no-one really special. Perhaps we cannot claim to be responsible for some great movement like Luther or the establishment of a state church like Knox. But even imperfect people like us can be well used for God’s glory. Maybe you will make your workplace a better place through your influence. Perhaps you will be the person who leads your children to their own faith in Jesus.

God loves to use the imperfect. Even you and me.

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