God Uses Ordinary People

By Ruth Johnson

The Father isn’t looking for those who are flashy, charismatic, highly gifted or accomplished, to use for His mighty purposes.

Instead, down through the history of His people, He used ordinary men and women who had an earnest desire to be close to Him. They wanted, most of all, to humbly do whatever God asked of them, and give Him all the glory for whatever good that happened.

This is a quote by Frank Bartleman, who personally saw the Father using the humble and the lowly during the Azusa Street Revival:

“The Lord’s heroes will arise from the dust of obscure, even despised circumstances. He draws from the deepest seclusion the weak instruments by which He purposes to accomplish great things. For this reason, most of those who God used to set the world on fire through the Azusa Street Revival came from this obscurity.”

One of those “heroes” was William Seymour. He was a poor, one-eyed black man, with a severely scarred face. He also was uneducated, totally unknown, and constantly up against the rejection that was part of being black in that era. Yet, this was the man whom the Father significantly used in the Azusa Street Revival.

William Seymour reminds me of this verse. It is an encouragement for anyone who feels he is not important enough, or good enough to be used by God: “He chooses people that the world considers foolish, in order to shame those who think they are wise. He chooses those who are powerless, to shame those who are powerful.” 1 Corinthians 1:27 NLT Personalized

Smith Wigglesworth is another unlikely person in church history. He was an uneducated plumber. He couldn’t even read. So, his wife had to teach him. He had absolutely nothing going for him, except God seeing who he really was, and using him to touch many lives.

Amos was an uneducated man who lived a common, hidden away life. Yet, this is how the Word describes him: “I’m not one of your professional prophets. I certainly never trained to be one. I am just a shepherd and I take care of fig trees. But, the Lord called me away from my flock and told me, ‘Go prophesy to My people in Israel.’” Amos 7:14-15 NLT

Gideon felt so unsure of himself, and so beat up by life, that he told God: “My family is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least important member of my family.” Judges 6:15 NCV Even though he was that down on himself, and although he felt useless in the eyes of others, Gideon was someone the Father knew was a very special, humble man whom He could trust. So, He looked past all of his insecurity, and said to Gideon: “Mighty hero! The Lord is with you!”

David’s father saw him as someone of not much value, who just took care of the sheep. When the Prophet Samuel asked Jesse to bring his sons to him, he didn’t even include David. Only after the Prophet questioned, “Are these all the sons you have?” did Jesse mention his youngest one. Then after David was publicly anointed to be king, his brother, Eliab, demeaned him in front of other people. When David asked questions about Goliath, Eliab cruelly responded: “What are you doing around here anyway? What about those few sheep you are supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and dishonesty. You just want to see the battle.” 1 Samuel 17:28 NLT

Yet, David, who was looked at by others as a total “loser,” was “selected by God from the common people” Psalm 89:19 NLT to be used by Him. This happened even though no one thought his life was worth anything at all. For the Father saw this young man with very different eyes, just as He does for each of us. People look at our outward appearance, and often they can’t really “see” us. Instead, they may judge us, or overlook us because to them we are insignificant. But the Lord looks at our heart, and treasures us. 1 Samuel 16:7, Matthew 10:29-30, Psalm 135:4