God Uses People Who Are Lowly and Despised

God Uses People Who Are Lowly and Despised

We are in a series of posts on what it means to keep the cross in the center of our preaching.  This does not mean that we preach every week about the cross, but that we overall it is clear from our preaching that Jesus died for our sins.  In the last post we saw that God uses morons, or the foolish.  In this post we are going to see that focusing on the cross we find that God uses people who are lowly and despised to do his work.

Where We Learn About God Using the Lowly and Despised

This passage is vitally important to understand how God works:

New International Version
26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”[a]

2 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[b] 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

God Uses Lowly People

God chose the weak people of this world. The word “weak” here describes someone who doesn’t have enough resources.  These could be resources that are physical, mental or material.

In the Church culture in the United States, it seems that people imply that if you are going to serve God, you need just the right education, the right facilities, the right amount of staff, and the right programs, and God will bless and cause your church to grow.  I know how this thinking goes, because I went on in my education to get a Doctor of Ministry degree, with an emphasis on Church Growth.  Certainly, I thought, God would use me to grow the church I was serving.  And then I heard this explanation of how God worked in Corinth.  He chose the weak people to accomplish great things.

In the last post I alluded to Dwight Moody as a person God used powerfully who was a surprise.  There are others.  I think of Fanny Crosby.  Early in her life, a doctor mistreated and eye infection.  The result was that she was blind.  This was back in the early 1800’s, when there weren’t many resources to help the blind.

Fanny could have gone on to beg at corners, or sit in her house depressed for the rest of her life.  Instead, she became one of the most prolific writers of Christian music in history.  Later in her life she thanked God for her blindness, because her weakness allowed her to “hear” the great music that God was giving her.  God uses people who are lowly and despised for building his Kingdom.

God Uses Despised People

Paul also says that God chose the lowly things.  What the Apostle Paul is describing here is the opposite of a noble  birth.  Lowly people know they can’t rely on their heritage to accomplish anything.

One such person was Ethel Waters.  She was born as the result of incest in her family.  Yet, she met Jesus Christ, and God began to use her.  The song for which she is most famous is, “His Eye Is On The Sparrow, and I know he watches me.”  She used to sing at Billy Graham Crusades.  Her introduction to a song would share her story and say, “God don’t make junk”.

Next time we’ll apply this more directly to your preaching.  For now, remember that God tends to use the lowly and despised people to accomplish great things.  When we come to the cross we realize that this is who we are.  We aren’t as good as we thought we were.  We are sinners, saved by Grace.