***Originally posted on http://www.lacworldmissions.org/journal/2017/12/6/by-the-grace-of-god
Brooke Miller is an LAC missionary to Panama. She is currently in the middle of her first Missionary Associate term where she is working with the abused and marginalized children and youth of Panama City. Brooke ministers to students through school assemblies and an urban outreach center.
I grew up in a small town church in Indiana. We had missionaries visit pretty frequently and every single one became a hero to me. They had these amazing stories about bringing people to the Lord. Their lives were so exciting and that seemed foreign to me. Needless to say, when God called me to be a missionary it seemed like a pretty daunting task.
That, friends, is when I found out that missionaries are just normal people. My fellow missionaries are still my heroes and some of the best people I know. However, I realized that if God can use someone like me to bring people into the kingdom, then He can use anyone. That’s the kicker, I am definitely nothing special but God uses me anyway.
It just never gets old - God uses me ANYWAY. God CHOOSES to use me. What an incredible God we have that He looked at me, a sinner with no extraordinary talents, and thought of all the ways he could use me. He saw my potential and how He could shine His light through me. God, the creator, breathed life into me. He put me together just the way he wanted me, introvert-ness and all, and said, “Here is your task. Go forth and proclaim my name.” He doesn’t need me to reach people but He wants me anyway. I could go on about this all day.
There are probably a lot of reasons that God chooses to use us for his glorious work, but I am inclined to think that the main reason is so that He alone receives the glory. That’s the great thing about working for the kingdom is that I literally can't do nothing in my own strength. If someone accepts Christ as their savior, I sure don’t receive the glory for it. It goes straight to God. He knew what He was doing when He chose someone like me to work for Him.
I remember when I first started preaching to adults. I was just starting college. I didn’t have a lot of experience or training and I was nervous. I was nervous because it is literally the most important job in the world. People’s eternities hang in the balance and that should not be taken lightly. However, I also learned that the Holy Spirit would do what he wanted to do. I can preach the worst sermon ever and stumble over every word but if the Holy Spirit wants to move, He will! It’s a fine line of knowing that we have this important task but also that God has it taken care of. The first time I experienced this, I was preaching at a little church in the panhandle of Florida. I preached on the dry bones from Ezekiel. I remember not feeling great about it, I knew I didn't do very well. My preaching professor was in my head telling me all the things I could have done better. Then something odd happened during the altar call. The Spirit fell. Next thing I knew the whole church was at the altar weeping in the presence of the Lord and they stayed there praying and getting their lives right with the Lord. I know what I preached that day, I know how I preached it and I know that my sermon did not elicit that kind of response. The Spirit moved them despite my blunders. By the grace of God, people were touched that day and not by my work. The Lord does what He wants. I am so grateful for that.
I guess the moral of the story here is this: don’t take yourself too seriously. We get to do this great work for the Lord but only because His grace is sufficient. God chooses to use us the way He sees fit. So don’t beat yourself up when your sermon isn’t that great or you introduce yourself by saying “jellyfish” instead of “nice to meet you” (may or may not be a real life example).
God is gracious and kind in our failures and shortcomings. Gracias a Dios!