Psalm 118:22-23 The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
the Lord has done this,
and it is marvellous in our eyes.
This passage is famous because Jesus quoted it about Himself, as recorded in three of the Gospels. (Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 12:17) Peter obviously remembered that very well, because he quoted it about Jesus before the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:11) and in his first letter. (1 Peter 2:4, 7) The point, I think, is that God has a habit of doing things that confound the “experts.” That was certainly true in the case of Jesus, but Paul pointed out that it continues to be true. (1 Corinthians 1:27-29) That’s a very good thing to remember! It’s not that we aren’t to get advice from people, or fail to research things properly, but it is to say that we must remember that God always has the final word. After all, He chose Moses, a man with a stammer who had no administrative skills, to lead His people out of Egypt. It would seem that God enjoys blowing people’s minds! The interesting thing is, usually those God chooses to use are just as shocked if not more so than those around them. It’s not unusual to recognize God’s anointing on someone when they don’t see it themselves. I have a close friend whom I knew from soon after I met him was powerfully gifted as a pastor, but it took him many years before he finally entered that position. Preaching isn’t his strong suit, but he’s far better at nurturing the flock than I am. As Paul said in discussing this issue, God does this kind of thing so that we will have no basis for boasting, but will rather give Him the glory He deserves. When it comes to God using someone, the question isn’t just why He would do it, but also why would He not? And frankly, no human being can come up with a valid answer to that last question.
One of my major frustrations as a pastor is in getting people to believe that God can, wants to, and will use them for His glory. My pastoral experience in the US was under two years, but in over 30 years in Japan, getting people to volunteer has been a real headache. Thinking about it, right now our numbers are very limited, but the attitude is very good. That’s certainly better than the other way around! Right now we are in a situation of people both inside and outside the church wondering why God would choose this church, of the six in the city, to build a senior-care facility. All I can say is, that’s His business! The very fact that it’s such a human impossibility for us is all the more reason to be assured that this is God’s plan. I need to lead the believers in focusing on God and yielding completely to Him, so that we will do whatever He says to do, even when, and especially when, it’s something we know we can’t do, so that His plans may be fulfilled for His glory.
Father, thank You for all that You are doing. Thank You for dragging us along, even though we sometimes kick and scream. Help us trust You enough to be fully obedient, even when it means getting out of the boat like Peter did. Help us not accuse ourselves too badly when we start to sink, like He also did! Thank You for giving this church that story as emblematic of us. May we rejoice to be Your instruments for Your glory alone. Thank You. Hallelujah!