I am writing this morning from the Sea of Galilee. This small lake, only fourteen miles long by seven-and-a-half miles wide, is one of the most strategic bodies of water on Earth.
Jesus performed ten of his thirty-three miracles on this lake. He preached the most famous sermon in history on its northern shore. He performed three-quarters of his public ministry on lands I can see from my hotel balcony.
A movement that began with twelve men now comprises 2.2 billion followers. As one small example, this Daily Article is going to 112,000 subscribers in 203 countries. Christianity’s global reach was inconceivable when it began here twenty centuries ago.
God so often uses small places for big purposes. He used a bush in the wilderness to call Moses; he used a slingshot to defeat a giant and elevate a king; he used a cave on a prison island to give the world his Revelation.
First Corinthians 1 comes to mind: “Not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (vv. 26–29).
As Paul later noted, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
These are challenging times for followers of Jesus. An Arizona college student was ordered by his professor to leave the classroom because he was reading the Bible before class began. A recent survey shows that most Americans have read little or none of the Bible. In the midst of genocide, 16,000 South Sudanese Christians have sought refuge at a cathedral compound. A priest explained: “People said if they were going to be killed, they preferred to be killed in the church because this is the place where Jesus is present. They wanted to die in the church rather than die in their homes.”
When our faith is challenged, it is important to remember that God measures success not by circumstances but by obedience.
The Lord said to Baruch, the servant of the prophet Jeremiah: “Do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not, for behold, I am bringing disaster upon all flesh, declares the Lord. But I will give you your life as a prize of war in all places to which you may go” (Jeremiah 45:5). Rather than seeking “great things” for ourselves, we should seek God’s will for today, secure in the knowledge that his will for us is better than our dreams for ourselves.
C. S. Lewis notes that our culture sees us as individuals of infinite value for whom God serves as a kind of employment committee working to find the best “job” for us. In fact, the reverse is true: God has a purpose for our lives, then he creates us to fulfill that purpose. Only our Creator knows why he made us and what purpose most fulfills his will for us.
I am at the Sea of Galilee today because of what Jesus did here twenty centuries ago. God is able to use your life for future purposes you cannot imagine today. Will you let him?
Publication date: May 4, 2017
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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