by Pastor Steve Liersch
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Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realised that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognised them as companions of Jesus (Acts 4:13).
There’s something wonderful about the ability of the underdog – the average, ordinary person to rise to the occasion and do something great at just the right time. For instance, we can see it in tennis when the lower-ranked player outperforms a more highly fancied and experienced player. Suddenly, they become noticed, and all eyes are on them to find out more about their background and coach.
Talent shows are all about such people too. Unknown singers, dancers and performers come out of the woodwork to show the world what they’re capable of when given a chance. Generally, people warm to them and comment on how well they performed, or what a great speaker they are, and even how far they could go in life given the right kind of opportunities.
What many of these people have in common, whether it be sportspeople, entertainers, or even just the ordinary person rising to the occasion, is that most of them have someone behind them with whom they have spent a lot of time. It could be a parent, a sports coach, a colleague, a friend or a mentor. The common thread is usually that someone with skill, patience, ability or vision has seen something special in them and is prepared to invest their time and energy to develop their potential. Mostly this happens out of sight over a few years until they think their prodigy is ready to have a go ‘on the big stage’.
I can’t help but reflect on the way Jesus did this with his disciples. He called a group of ordinary people into his circle of influence and prepared them for their godly task of being witnesses for God’s kingdom. Suddenly Peter and John, ordinary fishermen, were doing greater things than the rulers and elders of the people were ever capable of. The crowds responded as the church grew to about five thousand (verse 4), while the church leaders questioned their pedigree as theologians felt threatened by their rise in public popularity.
How beautiful to think that God continues to prepare ordinary people (quite often non-theologically trained at a more highly credentialed establishment) to do amazing things for him.
Ordinary people who spend time with Jesus (verse 13) and are filled with the Holy Spirit (verse 8) get immortalised in the Bible and throughout church history to become recognised as mighty agents in God’s kingdom.
Enter here every Christian who has been baptised and spent time in God’s word. God has a way of raising to the fore those who are willing and open to being used throughout their life in situations where their time with Jesus has prepared them for service and acts of love.
Can you identify someone whom God has used in mighty ways who has ‘slipped under the radar’ until their moment to shine for Jesus arrived?
Heavenly Father, please help me not to take pride in my theological training if it means I overlook the mighty ways you are using ‘ordinary’ people to serve in your kingdom. Thank you for parents, children’s ministry leaders, mentors and friends who have identified and encouraged gifts that you want to be developed for your purposes. In Jesus’ name. Amen.