life lines ” The unlikley ones”
Ian Robinson, Major
We often listen to fellow Scot Alistair Begg on the radio. He’s from Glasgow like me, but only made it as far as Cleveland, Ohio. And his accent is a little more refined than mine because he’s from the wealthier north of the River Clyde and I was born on the poorer south side.
The other day he was talking about the kind of people God calls into his service. He used the term, “unlikely ones,” and immediately my mind flashed back almost 23 years. We were attending the Santa Ana Corps and felt the need for something more than the Sunday sermon for spiritual food. So a few of us started a home Bible study, because none existed at that time in the corps.
After several weeks the corps officer decided to pay us a visit. Whether it was, as he said, to share in our study and fellowship, or, as we thought more likely, to see if we were a renegade splinter group planning to break away and start a contemporary corps, we never found out.
Because the members of this small study group were not the movers and shakers of the corps, we were branded “an unlikely group,” and the name stuck. In fact, we began calling ourselves “The Unlikelies,” and became rather proud of that badge. More and more unlikely people joined us until we were too big for the house in which we met and had to split into two groups.
Those groups grew, others were added, and today the Tustin Ranch Corps boasts at least 12 midweek Bible studies for all ages and levels, and people are growing as they are fed a steady diet of God’s Word. All because a handful of unlikely people decided they wanted to know more about Jesus and how he can help us in our daily living.
Of course we should not be surprised. God has been calling unlikely men and women throughout history to do extraordinary things for his kingdom. Look at Jacob, the conniving and deceitful mommy’s boy who was father to the 12 tribes of Israel. Or his son, Joseph, who was daddy’s favorite, hated by his brothers, and yet rose to be second in charge of all Egypt, saving his family so they could grow into the nation Israel. Then there’s Moses, the reluctant stutterer who led Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land. Rahab was a prostitute, Samson was a longhaired fool, and David had a roving eye for beautiful women, yet they are all listed in the 11th chapter of Hebrews as heroes of the faith. The 12 disciples were a very unlikely group of men chosen by Jesus to spread the Good News. And of course the apostle Paul was a fierce and dreadful persecutor of Christians until Jesus called him on the Damascus Road and turned him into the greatest evangelist and church planter the world has ever known.
Maybe we are not so unlikely after all. The Bible clearly shows that anyone who responds to God’s call to serve him, no matter what background or skill set, can be used by him to accomplish wonderful things. The key is in the word “respond.” He already knows what he wants us to do and has equipped us to do it. All we need to do is answer the call and we can’t go wrong!
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10 NIV).