God can use anyone

SERMON TOPIC: God can use anyone

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 23 June 2013


Sermon synopsis: Former shoe salesman, D.L. Moody said,
“If this world is going to be reached, I am convinced that it must be done by men and women of average talent. After all, there are comparatively few people in the world who have great talents.”
Hudson Taylor said, “God isn’t looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him” and “God uses men who are weak and feeble enough to lean on him.”
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God can use anyone


2 Ki 6:24 Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria.


2 Kings 6:25 There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels…


We even read that there was cannibalism in the city. (2 women agreeing to take turns in eating their children).

As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!” The king replied, “If the LORD does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.” When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his robes. (2 Kings 6:26-30)

2 Kings 7:3-7 Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.” At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, not a man was there, for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.


2 Kings 7:8 The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp and entered one of the tents.

They ate and drank, and carried away silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also.

2 Kings 7:9-11,16 Then they said to each other, “We’re not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.” So they went and called out to the city gatekeepers and told them, “We went into the Aramean camp and not a man was there—not a sound of anyone—only tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents left just as they were.” The gatekeepers shouted the news, and it was reported within the palace. … Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. So a seah of flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the LORD had said.


The people in Samaria were besieged by the Syrian armies.

Likewise the people of the world have been held captive by Satan.

1 John 5:19 … the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

2 Tim 2:26 … the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Luke 13:16 … this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years…


The situation in Samaria was desperate, with the most likely outcomes being death either by famine or sword.

Likewise the people of the world living under the captivity of sin and Satan have a situation that is desperate:

Heb 2:14 … him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil

1 Pet 5:8 … Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Eph 6:16 … all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…

John 10:12 … Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.


The four lepers are the heroes of the story. They used their logic and reason to come up with a solution to the desperate situation they were in.

They reason that staying where they are and doing nothing will result in certain death – and they have nothing to lose by looking for food in the Syrian camp.

The solution to the desperate situation of our sin, is to listen to what God has to say and realise that it is reasonable and our only hope for salvation.

Once we realise that staying as we are and doing nothing will result in certain death – we can reason that we have nothing to lose by looking for an answer in Jesus.


Come now, and let us reason together. Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool. (Isaiah 1:18 NASB)

When the lepers got up and did something about their situation, to their delight, not only do they find food to satisfy their hunger, they also find a treasure nearby.

Col 2:2-3 …so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

Eph 1:18 … in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints


So salvation was nearby, but the people of the city were unaware of it.

So too, our salvation is nearby. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15)

Q: How near is it?

A: It’s as close as your mouth and your heart.

Rom 10:6-13 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).


But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved… for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”


Jesus is Lord!

I believe God raised Jesus from the dead.

By relating the story of these four lepers to our lives, we realise that we were dying in our sins and then discovered the riches of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

But taking it a step further, we see that our heroes continue to reason, “We’re not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us.”

The gospel is “good news” that we should not keep to ourselves. Jesus commissioned us to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” (Mark 16:15)

There are 2 ways we do this:

Evangelism – taking the gospel to our immediate area.

Missions – taking the gospel to remote areas.


There were an estimated 12.7 million cancer cases around the world in 2008. This number is expected to increase to 21 million by 2030. 1

1 " wcrf.org/ cancer_statistics/ world_cancer_statistics.php"> wcrf.org/ cancer_statistics/ world_cancer_statistics.php


More than 34 million people live with HIV/ AIDS, 3.3 million of them under the age of 15.

In 2011, an estimated 2.5 million people were newly infected with HIV - 330,000 under the age of 15.

Every day nearly 7,000 people contract HIV—nearly 300 every hour.

In 2011, 1.7 million people died from AIDS - 230,000 of them under the age of 15.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 60 million people have contracted HIV and nearly 30 million have died of HIV-related causes. 1

1 "http:// amfar.org/ about_hiv_and_aids/ facts_and_stats/ statistics__worldwide">http:// amfar.org/ about_hiv_and_aids/ facts_and_stats/ statistics__worldwide


Most of us know people or have loved ones who have died from cancer or AIDS.

Now imagine if we discovered that someone had found a cure for AIDS or cancer years ago, but failed to share this with the world! Basic ethics requires that if we have this type of good news, we are obligated to share it with others.

In 1843 Livingstone visited the chief Sechéle, whose child he treated successfully. Some of the questions of this chief were difficult to answer: “Since it is true that all who died unforgiven are lost forever, why did your nation not come to tell us of it before now! My ancestors are all gone, and none of them knew anything of what you tell me. How is this?”


While travelling by boat one day, Hudson Taylor entered into conversation with a Chinaman who had once visited England, where he went by the name of Peter. The man listened attentively to the missionary’s account of Christ’s saving love and was even moved to tears, but refused the immediate acceptance of the proffered salvation. A little later, evidently in a mood of great despondency, Peter jumped overboard and sank. In agonized suspense Taylor looked around for assistance and saw close by a fishing boat with a dragnet furnished with hooks. “Come!” shouted Taylor to the fishermen. “Drag over this spot. A man sank here and is drowning!” “It is not convenient,” was the unfeeling reply. “Don’t talk of convenience!” cried the missionary. “A man is drowning.” 1

1 " wayoflife.org/ ">www.wayoflife.org


“We are busy fishing and cannot come,” they responded. When Taylor urged them to come at once and offered to pay them, they demanded to know how much. His offer of 5 dollars was refused. He then said: “Do come quickly and I will give you all the money I have - about 14 dollars.” Finally, the boat was brought and the hooks let down. Less than a minute was required to bring up the body but all efforts at resuscitation failed. Life was extinct. To Hudson Taylor this incident was profoundly sad in itself and pathetic in its parabolic significance. Were not those fishermen guilty of the death of the Chinaman, in that they had the opportunity and means of saving him but refused to use them? Most assuredly they were guilty. 1

1 Ibid


“And yet,” says Taylor, “let us pause before we pronounce judgment on them, in case a greater than Nathan answers, ‘You are the man.’ Is it so wicked a thing to neglect to save the body? Of how much worse punishment then, is he worthy, who leaves the immortal soul to perish. The Lord Jesus commands me, commands you: ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15). Shall we say to Him, ‘No, it is not convenient?’ Shall we tell Him that we are busy at fishing or other business and cannot go?” 1

So we can learn from these four sick beggars. As D.T. Niles so aptly said, “Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.”

1 Ibid


Blunt common sense always characterized Mr. Moody. Once a man rose in one of his meetings to give his experience. “I have been for five years on the Mount of Transfiguration,” he said. Instantly Mr. Moody interrupted him by the sharp question, “How many souls did you lead to Christ last year?’ “Well, I don’t know,” answered the surprised man. “Have you led any?” then came sternly from the preacher. “I-ah-don’t know that I have,” said the man. “Then,” snapped Mr. Moody, still more sternly, “we don’t want that kind of mountaintop experience. When a man gets so high that he can’t reach down and save poor sinners, there is something wrong.” 1

1 " calvaryfullerton.org/ Bstudy/ 12%202Ki/ 2002/ 122Ki07-09.htm"> calvaryfullerton.org/ Bstudy/ 12%202Ki/ 2002/ 122Ki07-09.htm


6,96 billion people are alive today (2013) in 237 countries in 16,589 people groups. 1

9,427 people groups by country are not considered unreached, totalling 4 billion individuals, or about 59% of the world’s population. 1

1 SOURCE: "http:// joshuaproject.net/ great-commission-statistics.php">http:// joshuaproject.net/ great-commission-statistics.php


So 41% of the world’s population are unreached

Of the world’s 16,589 ethnic people groups by country, 6,783 (41%) are primarily Christian, totalling over 2,271,000,000, or nearly one third the world's population.

Of 237 total countries, 163 (69%) are Christian-majority countries. Total population for these countries is 2,517,000,000. 1

3,481 groups are primarily Muslim, totalling nearly 1,476,000,000 individuals.

2,660 groups are primarily Hindu, totalling about 987,000,000 individuals.

578 groups are primarily Buddhist, totalling nearly 619,000,000 individuals.

1 Ibid



83 million unreached individuals are NOT in the 10/ 40 Window. They are relatively accessible to the Gospel. 1

1 Ibid

85% of all unreached people groups are in the 10/ 40 Window. 1


We read earlier in Rom 10:13 that, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

But verses 14-15 goes on to say, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?”

“The Gospel would save them if they heard it and accepted it, but it is not the ignorance or rejection of the Gospel which destroys them, it is the knowledge of sin.” (Robert E. Speer)

“The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.” (Carl F. H. Henry)

“Today 5 out of 6 non-Christians in our world have no hope unless missionaries come to them and plant the church among them.” (David Bryant)

“There are too many over-fed, under-motivated Christians hiding behind the excuse that God has not spoken to them. They are waiting to hear voices or see dreams – all the while living to make money, to provide for their future, to dress well and have fun.” (Floyd McClung)


“To me, it has always been difficult to understand those evangelical Christians who insist upon living in the crisis as if no crisis existed. They say they serve the Lord, but they divide their days so as to leave plenty of time to play and loaf and enjoy the pleasures of this world as well. They are at ease while the world burns; and they can furnish many convincing reasons for their conduct, even quoting Scripture if you press them a bit. I wonder whether such Christians actually believe in the Fall of Man.” (A.W. Tozer)


Untold millions remain untold.

“It is to be kept in mind that the generations of men do not wait for the convenience of the church in respect to their evangelization. Men are born and die whether or not Christians are ready to give them the Gospel. And hence, if the church of any generation does not evangelize the heathen of that generation, those heathen will never be evangelized at all. It is always true in the work of evangelization that the present can never anticipate the future, and that the future can never replace the past. What is to be done in soul saving must be done by that generation.” (J. Oswald Sanders, director of the OMF, formerly China Inland Mission)


The heroes of the story were the most unlikely candidates:

They had leprosy. Leprosy is a type of man’s totally depraved condition, ruined by sin (Isaiah 1:-6 From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness-- only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with olive oil.)

They were outsiders who sat at the entrance of the city’s gate. (Col 1:21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour.)

They were dying of starvation. We were dying in sin (Eph 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins…)


God can use anyone. These lepers were outcasts. They had a disease that kept them at the lowest end of their society. They were the least likely men to rescue an entire city, but that’s what they do.

You might say that God cannot use you for evangelism or missions because you’re not qualified or talented, but God can use anyone. You too can be an unlikely hero.

“It is possible for the most obscure person in a church, with a heart right toward God, to exercise as much power for the evangelization of the world, as it is for those who stand in the most prominent positions.” (John R. Mott, 1865–1955, a long-serving leader of the YMCA & the World Student Christian Federation.)


God’s not looking for ability, He’s looking for availability.

“Churches realize that God will do more through their honest mistakes than their disobedience; more through their fumbled efforts than their lack of efforts; more through their awkward attempts to influence their global neighbours than through their grand programs within their comfort zone.” (Mark Mays)

“It is not so much the degree of arts that is needed, but that of hearts, loyal and true, that love not their lives to the death: large and loving hearts which seek to save the lost multitudes…” (C.T. Studd)


Maybe you’re not perfect physically. Just remember:

The apostle Paul possibly had poor eyesight. 1

Timothy had problems with his stomach (1 Tim 5:23), but he was mentored by Paul, who left him in Ephesus to establish leadership (1 Tim 3) and to ensure sound doctrine was preached (1 Tim 1:3).

Epaphroditus was so sick he almost died, but he ministered to the material needs of Paul. 2

1 Gal 4:15 … I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. Gal 6:11 See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand! 2 Phil 2:25-27 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him…


Abraham and Sarah were too old but…

they became the ancestors of many nations, including Israel, and the line through which the Messiah would come.

Leah was not as beautiful as her sister (Gen 29:17) but she became the ancestor of Judah, David, all the kings of Judah and ultimately Jesus.

Zacchaeus was too short

Samson was blind but…

he delivered Israel from the oppression of the Philistines.

A popular story relates how Gladys Aylward envied her tall blonde friends their beauty, while she was less than 5 foot tall with black hair. Yet years later when she arrived in China as a missionary, she looked around on a Chinese street and realized God’s purposes. She would be working with dark, short statured people - exactly like she was! “Oh, God,” she is said to have gasped. “You knew what you are doing!”


Gladys Aylward (1902-70)

If you think God can’t use you because you lack ability - Moses couldn’t speak eloquently ( Exodus 4:10-12) but…

O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.


Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.

not only did he deliver Israel from slavery, this man who was not eloquent wrote the first 5 books of the Bible.

Gideon had low self-esteem (Judges 6:15) but…

How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.

he destroyed the false Baal idol and…

he also freed Israel from the oppression of the Midianites.

Peter and John were uneducated but… they astonished the educated rulers.

When the educated Jewish rulers “saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)


D.L. Moody was born to a large family and raised in poverty. His alcoholic father died when Moody was 4 years old. Moody didn’t attend school beyond the fifth grade and the teacher of the district school didn’t consider him a promising pupil. He progressed poorly in reading and writing, was a bad speller and poor at maths. 1

His command of language was very limited, his sentences were broken and ungrammatical. His first application for admission into church membership was not accepted, as he was thought not to know enough. In Chicago, attending the Plymouth Congregational Church, he was repeatedly advised not to attempt to speak in public. 1

1 SOURCE: " wholesomewords.org/ biography/ biomoody.html">www.wholesomewords.org/ biography/ biomoody.html & Christian History Institute ("https:// www.christianhistoryinstitute.org/ ">https:// www.christianhistoryinstitute.org)


A Mr. Reynolds related: “The first meeting I ever saw him at was in a little old shanty that had been abandoned by a saloon-keeper. Mr. Moody had got the place to hold the meetings in at night. I went there a little late; and the first thing I saw was a man standing up with a few tallow candles around him, holding a negro boy, and trying to read to him the story of the Prodigal Son and a great many words he could not read out, and had to skip. I thought, ‘If the Lord can ever use such an instrument as that for His honour and glory, it will astonish me.’ After that meeting was over, Mr. Moody said to me, ‘Reynolds, I have got only one talent; I have no education, but I love the Lord Jesus Christ, and I want to do something for him: I want you to pray for me.’ 1

1 Source: " wholesomewords.org/ ">www.wholesomewords.org


I have never ceased, from that day to this, to pray for that devoted Christian soldier. I have watched him since then, have had counsel with him, and know him thoroughly; and, for consistent walk and conversation, I have never met a man to equal him. It astounds me to look back and see what Mr. Moody was 13 years ago, and then what he is under God today… The last time I heard from him, his injunction was, ‘Pray for me every day; pray now that the Lord will keep me humble.’ ” 1

1 Ibid


D.L. Moody (1837-99)

If you think God can’t use you because of your childhood family problems - Jephthah was kicked out of his family and disinherited because his mother was a prostitute. 1

1 Jud 11:1-2 Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. Gilead’s wife also bore him sons, and when they were grown up, they drove Jephthah away. “You are not going to get any inheritance in our family,” they said, “because you are the son of another woman.”


But Jephthah delivered Israel from the Ammonites and then became Israel’s judge.

Joseph was abused and hated by his brothers but…

he saved Israel and Egypt from starvation after becoming second in charge in Egypt.

If you think God can’t use you because you’ve made mistakes:

Mary Magdalene had been possessed by seven demons 1 but…


1 Luke 8:2… Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out… Mark 16:9 … Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.

she was one of the women who supported Jesus’ ministry, 1

and she also became the first witness to Jesus’ resurrection. 2

1 Luke 8:1-3 After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. 2 Mark 16:9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.

Jacob was a liar (Gen 27:20-24).

Samson was a womanizer (Judges 14-16).

The disciples fell asleep while praying (Matt 26:40).

Rahab was a prostitute (Joshua 2:1) but…

she saved her family from the invading Israelite armies and became an ancestor of David and Jesus (Matt 1:5).

Zacchaeus was a cheat (Luke 19:8) but…

Jesus visited him and he gave half his possessions to the poor.

Jonah ran away from God (Jonah 1:3) but…

he preached in Nineveh and saved a city from destruction.

The Samaritan woman was divorced 5 times yet…

she led an entire village to Jesus (John 4).

Peter denied his Lord 3 times but…

he preached the gospel sermon on Pentecost (Acts 2) and was the first to take the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10).

Paul persecuted the early Christians (Acts 9:1-2) but…

he brought the gospel to Asia Minor and Europe - and wrote almost half of the New Testament.

The man from the region of the Gerasenes was possessed by a legion of demons but…

he evangelised 10 cities (i.e. the Decapolis) in a region where Jesus had been asked to leave. 1

1 Mark 5:17-20 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Timothy was too young…


but Paul wrote to him, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” (1 Tim 4:12)

Maybe God can’t use you because of your nationality or race? Ruth was a foreigner but became an ancestor of David and Jesus.


Maybe God can’t use you because you’re a woman? But Esther saved a nation from destruction…


while Deborah was a prophetess and leader of Israel (Jud 4:4).

David was the least in his family and had a menial profession (shepherd) but…


he was the only one able to deliver Israel from Goliath.

Long after he became famous in India, becoming Professor of oriental languages in the college of Fort William, William Carey was dining with a select company at the Governor-General’s. One of the guests asked someone else in a whisper deliberately loud enough to be heard by the professor, whether Dr. Carey had not once been a shoemaker. “No, sir,” immediately interjected Dr. Carey, “only a cobbler!” (in other words - not able to make shoes, but only to mend them).

Yet this former shoe-mender was instrumental in translating the entire Bible into Bengali, Oriya, Marathi, Hindi, Sanskrit and Assamese, and parts of 209 other languages and dialects.


Born in London in 1902, Gladys Aylward was forced into domestic service at an early age. She wanted to be a missionary, but was turned down by the China Inland Mission because her academic background was inadequate. 1

Gladys spent her life savings from her meagre wages earned as a housemaid to go to China in 1930. She learned the Chinese language, a feat she called “one of God’s great miracles.” (The mission agencies had been sure she lacked the education for that.) While sharing the gospel, she also began to take in unwanted children, ultimately having 100 little ones under her care, besides the 30 to 40 wounded soldiers that she cared for at a time. She shared the gospel in villages, prisons and among lepers. 1

1 Source: Wikipedia & Christian History Institute


Aylward said, “I wasn’t God’s first choice for what I’ve done for China… I don’t know who it was… It must have been a man… a well-educated man. I don’t know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn’t willing… and God looked down… and saw Gladys Aylward… And God said – ‘Well, she’s willing.’”

At the end of her life Gladys wrote of herself: “My heart is full of praise that one so insignificant, uneducated, and ordinary in every way could be used to His glory for the blessing of His people in poor persecuted China.” 1

1 Christian History Institute


If you think God can’t use you because you’re poor – remember Job went bankrupt!


Naomi and Ruth were widows who had to rely on charity just to eat – but Ruth became an ancestor of David and Jesus.

And don’t forget the widow commended by Jesus for her gift to the temple treasury!

This poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.

A poor widow assisted God’s prophet Elijah (1 Kings 17: 8-12)

Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink? And bring me, please, a piece of bread.

I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.


Elijah was afraid and so depressed that he longed to die:

1 Kings 19:3-4 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life… He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die.

I have had enough, LORD. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.

James tells us that God can use us, just as he used Elijah, who was “a man just like us” – i.e. he also got discouraged.

James 5:17-20 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

By almost every standard known to modern missionary boards, David Brainerd would have been rejected as a missionary candidate. He suffered from tuberculosis – dying from that disease at age 29 – and from his youth was frail and sickly. 1

Brainerd never finished college, being expelled from Yale for criticizing the worldliness of some members of the faculty. 2 This young man became a missionary to the American Indians.

For 24-year-old David Brainerd, thrilling experiences in God’s presence were regularly interspersed with deep bouts of melancholy in which he despaired of ever achieving anything in God’s service. 3

1 www.wholesomewords.org 2 www.swordofthelord.com 3 http:// net-burst.net/ tough

3 years later, an unprecedented outpouring of the Spirit upon American Indians erupted after his preaching. This move coincided with a time when the clammy clouds of dejection were so thick that he was seriously contemplating ending his missionary endeavours. 3

3 Ibid


So if you feel inadequate and incapable to be effective in evangelism remember:

1 Cor 1:26-29 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.


In the book of Numbers, God even used a donkey, so he can definitely use you.

Q: How can God use you?

Make yourself available (decide to consecrate your life to special purposes, not common use):

2 Timothy 2:20-21 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

Realise that you don’t have to be just like someone else for God to use you:

1 Cor 12:14-20 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

Former shoe salesman, D.L. Moody said, “If this world is going to be reached, I am convinced that it must be done by men and women of average talent. After all, there are comparatively few people in the world who have great talents.” 1

Hudson Taylor said, “God isn’t looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him” and “God uses men who are weak and feeble enough to lean on him.”

1 www.boycottliberalism.com



Live a life that is a good testimony. (1 Pet 2:12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.)

Share your faith with those you come into contact with. (1 Pet 3:15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect).

Invite people to hear the gospel at church.

Share Scripture and Christian literature with others.

Pray for the salvation of others.



Going into the mission field.

Sending and supporting missionaries (prayer, financial, encouragement).

Printing Scripture and Christian literature in the vernacular (i.e. mother tongue).

Radio/ TV: Regular listeners to Christian programs over secular or religious radio/ TV stations rose from 22% of the world in 1980 to 30% in 2000. 1

Internet – The rise of the internet has led to the wide dissemination of the gospel by new means.


Save others, snatching them out of the fire. (Jude 23)

… remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. (James 5:20)



Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. ( Lockman.org)

Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.