If there is anything that a man can do and do well, I say let him do it. Give him a chance. – Abraham Lincoln
As I roam through the pages of the Bible I’m struck by the cast of characters that reside within its pages. You have Jesus, the son of God. You have King Solomon, the son of a king and the wisest of wise. You have Elijah, the prophet who sidestepped death and rose straight to heaven. But most of the Bible’s pages are filled with stories of just average, everyday people. You have Peter, the king of talk before you think. You have King David, the eighth son in the time when the first was the most honored and who is almost as well known for his shortcomings as he is for his victories. You had Amos, the prophet that had no credentials and was a lowly shepherd. You have Thomas, the doubter. And the list could go on and on and on. But what these characters all had in common is that they let God use them. Sure, many had to be persuaded and many had to fall hard first, but once God got their attention they were all in.
In the United States we are very fortunate to be blessed with so much. Often, through the political bickering, we forget all the blessings that sit right in front of us. In our history we have had many individuals that have taken a leading role in walking us down those haunted paths with firm beliefs they we guiding us in a better direction. On top of those leader lists sit the individuals who have served as President. It’s a little strange, just like the Bible, the obvious choices often are the worse of those leaders. But out of nowhere comes just the average fellow and boom, he becomes the greatest leader. We see out of the backwoods of Kentucky a tall, lanky fellow named Abraham Lincoln. Then there is the red head, modest individual who would rather write and think than stand up and lead named Thomas Jefferson. And what about the fellow whose family uprooted and landed in a Kansas train station with only the change in their pockets. Their son was named Dwight Eisenhower. And if you listed the ones that had the best “credentials” to be President you would usually have to start at the bottom of the Presidential greatness charts.
Me? I’m really a nobody. I remember reading about Moses (and I’ve read it in several sources so someone really famous must have originally said it). I was going through the worst time in my life and I was just about to hit 40 years old mark. It’s said that Moses lived to be 120 years old. His life can be divided up into three 40 year segments. The first 40 years he thought he was a somebody (the “son” of a Pharaoh). The second 40 years (the wilderness years) he thought he was a nothing. The last 40 years God showed him what he could do with a nothing. My first thought when I read it was, “God, please don’t leave me in the wilderness for the next 40 years.” With God’s patience and an internal determination to get through those tough years, I’m really hoping God is ready to use this nothing.
If you are looking for a scholar who can explain any of the word translations in the Bible from Latin or Greek you have come to the wrong place. If you are looking for someone who wants to tell you what Revelation means, I’m probably not your man. I’m on my fourth time reading through the Bible and each time has been a new adventure. The first time I got a Through the Bible in Two Years Bible. I had tried many times to read the Bible in one year and it was just too much for me to read at one time, especially when you got to those this one begat this one who begat this one. The second Bible I read was in my self-help stage and I chose the NIV Encouragement Bible and it has little devotions that ran down the sides of each page. To me reading that Bible was a real life changing experience. The third time I read The Message. This put the Bible in everyday language for me. Currently, I’m coming close to the final few books of a Study Bible. This has been a real eye opener for me. In a study Bible (if you read the notes and the introduction passages in the front of the books) you get to know the characters better and you get to see more of the real purposes for why the books were actually written. Surprisingly they are not written to give you stones to throw at other people for their wrongs. The Bible makes it very clear that God loves us so much and that he will do almost anything to make sure we reside with him in heaven. That even includes disciplining us when we stray off His chosen path.
I’m a plumber by trade because I wasn’t smart enough to be an engineer and I was too stubborn to change my college major. For the last 17 years I have worked selling plumbing supplies. I guess you might say I’m the modern day version of the lowly shepherd. I was fortunate to grow up in a strong Christian family that had parents that taught me respect through discipline and a fear of God through example. Unfortunately, that Christian spirit was mixed with a know-it-all, holier-than-thy heart that spelled my doom. I’m not sure too many people around me would have notice this spirit but I could feel it with each heartbeat. God doesn’t do very well at being in second place and so, I believe, he let me trip over my own wisdom since I wouldn’t listen to his. And I fell hard. Life is lonely when you are all alone, but sometimes that is the only time you will actually listen to and for God. With a determination to overcome I developed a passion for reading and spending a little of each morning with him. From the most unlikely places I developed friendships so golden I’m not even sure these people know their true worth to me. I now come to appreciate every morning I wake up. I have faith that no matter how bad my situation, God is right there making me stronger from it. I try real hard to understand others and their pain. My heart aches when I see a child’s obituary in the paper even if I don’t know them. These were traits that never resided in my holier-than-thy spirit.
So here is where you come to find a nobody who wants to share a little bit of his interest in Presidents mixed with a little bit of his life’s lessons. Maybe you, too, can find that God loves everyone, even nobodies like me. In advance, I want to thank you for giving me the forum to ramble.