Have you ever prayed ‘God please use me!’, only then a short time later to have this felling that you are just being used! Exactly what is fair for God to ask us to do? After all, surely God knows that although our spirit’s might be willing, our flesh is often week. It’s quite ok for God to ask us to pray for the lost, but if He actually asks us to speak to them, I mean face to face, well, we are quick to remind Him, like Moses did, that we have a stammering tongue and couldn’t possibly do it! I know He is the potter and we are the clay, but shouldn’t we get a say in what we are being moulded into? (cf. Romans 9:21).
A Calvary pastor recently felt the LORD calling him to move his family hundreds of miles to take over a fellowship with just 6 people. This would also mean looking for full-time employment in the area of the new fellowship. He prayed and asked God is it was His will to move there for just 6 people? God then asked him, “Would you do it if I asked you to go for just 1?”.
“How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?” (Matthew 18:12).
Abandon is never reckless when it is in response to God’s call!
Enter Elijah: “And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word”. (1 Kings 17:1).
Elijah just steps onto the pages of history, we know nothing about him, nothing of his background, except to note that this man was a passionate individual who was “very jealous for the LORD God of hosts” (1 Kings 19:10). Even when others had abandoned God and bowed the knee to false God’s, Elijah had stood firm.
But can one person really make a difference? King Ahab had 450 prophets of Baal, and a queen Jezebel further 400 for Ashtoreth, how could he possibly be expected to just waltz up to the king, give him a long-range weather forecast and expect to see any good come of it?
Consider the following:
Edward Kimball had a burden for one of his Sunday school students to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour. He went to see him at the shoe store where he worked and led him to Christ in the shoe store. His name? Dwight L. Moody.
That young man, Dwight L. Moody, went on to become an evangelist whose ministry rocked two continents. While preaching in the British Isles, Moody spoke in a small chapel pastored by Federick Brotherton Meyer. In his sermon Moody told an emotionally charged story of a Sunday School teacher he knew who personally went to every student in his class and won them to Christ. The message changed Pastor Meyer’s entire ministry, inspiring him to become an evangelist.
Over the years, Meyer came to America several times to preach. Once in Northfield, Massachusetts a confused young preacher sitting in the back row heard Meyer say, “If you are not willing to give everything to God, are you willing to be made willing?” That remark led J. Wilbur Chapman to accept the call of God on his life. Chapman went on to become one of the most effective evangelists of his time. A volunteer helped set up Chapman’s crusades and learned to preach by watching him. His name: Billy Sunday.
Sunday eventually took over Chapman’s ministry, becoming one of the most effective evangelists of the 20th century. In the great arenas of America, Billy Sunday’s preaching turned thousands to Christ. Inspired by a 1924 Billy Sunday crusade in Charlotte, North Carolina (USA), a committee of Christians committed themselves to reaching that city for Christ. They invited Mordecai Ham to hold a series of evangelistic meetings in 1932. A lanky 16 year old sat in the huge crowd one evening. Spellbound by the message of the white haired preacher who seemed to be shouting and waving his long finger directly at him. Night after night the youth attended and finally went forward and gave his life to Christ. That teenager’s name: Billy Graham.
Billy Graham has doubtlessly communicated the gospel of Jesus Christ to more people than anyone else in the history of the world.
Remember how this sequence of events started: a nobody name Kimball, concerned for one of his students visited him at his shoe store. In doing that Kimball changed the world! Millions upon millions have been affected by his decision to go to that shoe store and millions more will continue to feel the impact.
At some point earlier in Elijah’s life God had called him to pray earnestly, in accordance with God’s Word. In simple obedience Elijah had prayed; maybe not even knowing what God would ask of him later, and probably not even dreaming it possible that the whole nation could be turned back to God as a result!
What is God calling you to do right now? Would you then be willing to step out in faith for God, even if the odds are stacked against you and ‘common sense’ would try to hold you back. God still works through an individual, just like you and me. “For the eyes of the LROD look to and fro throughout the whole earth to strongly support those whose hearts are completely His” (2 Chronicles 16:9 – Paraphrase).
One closing comment; before Elijah would come back to Ahab at the end of the three and a half years, he would spend time in two places: The Brook Cherith, which means ‘whittleing’ and Zaraphath, which means ‘Crucible. Are you ready for God to do a work of whittleing in your life and then put you through a crucible so that all that remains in you is the reflection of His glory?
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”. James 1:2-4 (NAS)