One of my first sales jobs was selling snowboards for a company named Burton - the biggest brand in snowboarding. Although it was a friendly, chill environment - there were times when there was high pressures to sell. We had monthly sales goals that we had to strive to meet, and if not, we’d need to correct our approach. At first, since my personality is very anti-pushy, sales was difficult for me. When I started, I was unsure if I was fit for the job - I wasn’t sure how or if I could actually contribute to the sales team, and I had my insecurities. Fast froward three years into my job: (long story short) there was a massive sales competition that resulted in many fantastic prizes, and I wound up winning it all (out of about 25 sales people). At first, I thought I was totally inadequate for the job, but in the end, I was winning sales contests (which, btw, this is not to brag but to make a point…).
Do you ever feel unsure of how you can contribute to God’s team? Do you ever feel unable to serve Him, follow Him, do His will? Maybe you’ve thought that since you aren’t musical you can’t lead worship, since you can’t speak on stage you can’t teach the Bible, etc… So maybe you are not sure if you can make a real impact for God’s Kingdom. Let’s get some encouragement from a little-looked at aspect to the entrance of Jesus into this world - to see who is fit and adequate to serve Him.
Sidebar before we jump in: hopefully, today’s blog will show you that everything in the Bible is there for a reason and we can learn something from everything if we keep our eyes, ears, and hearts open.
The Gospel of Matthew begins with the lineage of Jesus Christ (Matt 1:1-16), all the way back to Abraham. It is literally a long list of names of fathers and grandfathers, and great grandfathers… For most of us, if we are starting the book of Matthew, we’ll read the first three names, and then skip to verse 17 and get on with it. I believe, however, that we can find encouragement in that list of names. This is, in fact, no random list of names - this is the line up before Jesus Christ! That’s an important line of people…
If you look through this list, you will find names on it that are very different from one another in personality, spirituality, and experience. You see names like Abraham, Isaac, Ruth, and David - who are all heroes of the faith in the Old Testament. They are patriarchs of the Jewish nation, they are known for their faith, loyalty, strength, respect/fear of God, and people who sought after God. You also find names with shady backgrounds and sketchy reputations. Rahab and Tamar, for example, are both on this list and have backgrounds I probably shouldn’t go into too much detail for middle schoolers… There are names on that list of people who didn’t make a big splash or name for themselves, and have been thought of as ordinary - like Hezron, Ram, Nahshon, and Akim. Continuing with the list, you even find people who were quite terrible. Manasseh and Abijah were ungodly, wicked, and terrible kings for Israel.
God’s work in history is not limited to human failure, bound by our weaknesses, or thwarted by our sins. The Father used a variety of people to literally bring His Son into the world, and He will use a variety of people to now proclaim His Son to the world. If you are unsure if you can make real impact for God’s Kingdom, be encouraged that God uses a variety of people to accomplish His will. Even if you think you’re not smart enough, cool enough, quick-witted enough, popular enough, funny enough, athletic enough, stylish enough, good enough, musical enough, (insert your insecurity here): know that if you believe that you are believing lies. Hebrews 13:20-21 says this,
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with every good thing to do His will. And may He accomplish in us what is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
God has given you, through Jesus His Son, all good things to be able to do His will. So how can you go about doing this? For one, lets’ talk Promote Grace. Anyone can do this: random act of kindness towards someone that isn’t expecting it, nor have they done anything to deserve it. Buying a cup of coffee for the person behind you and directing them towards promotegrace.com - can literally change someone’s eternity. What can you do? Help a neighbor with some yard work? Bring some donuts to your school? Give a gift card to someone at random? When you do a random act of kindness, send them to the PG website, and they will clearly read the Gospel and what grace Jesus has to offer.
Also, in addition to Promote Grace, think about what you are most passionate about. What has God gifted you with? What brings you total joy? Pursue these things, be an example for Jesus in your realm of giftedness. If you are really good at sports, you will be well respected on your court or field. Use that influence for Jesus. If you are super artistic or social media savvy - use that influence for bringing Jesus name into a dark place.
We can do these things, but ultimately - why? Why care so much? The answer is simple: Christmas. As Christians, we’ve been given the greatest gift of all - one that we could never repay (and we aren’t expected to). The least we can do is dedicate our lives to this amazing gift that we have been given. We need Jesus, not only for eternity in Heaven, but we need Him every day. Let JESUS be your motivation to bring Him into this world, and be encouraged that you (yes, YOU) can make an eternal impact for Jesus.