If we look at the coming of Jesus Christ as a rescue operation (and who can deny that humanity needs rescuing?), who did God choose for His special ops team? That may seem like an odd perspective, but it illustrates how differently we think from the way God thinks. It also calls us to reevaluate what matters. Let me explain.
You may know that U.S. Special Forces are the elite of the elite. Delta Force or Navy SEALs, Green Berets or Rangers, these warriors receive the most rigorous training humanly possible. And in some cases, inhumanly possible. You want them on your team if you need rescuing!
But who did God employ? The toughest fighters in Palestine? The stealthiest spies and wiliest support crews?
Uh, no. To start with, God sent a group of influential Gentile thinkers, the Magi. He also used Zechariah, a high priest with serious doubts, and his barren (cursed) wife, Elizabeth. Mary, Elizabeth’s cousin, was a poor teenager, and her fiancé, Joseph, was likely not much older or more educated. Added to this cast of characters, God recruited lowly shepherds and two very old and ignored people, Simeon and Anna.
Just what kind of a team of special operatives is that? A bit shocking, from a human point of view, isn’t it? Well, that’s the point.
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts'” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
What can we learn from this?
One, intelligence and ability are overrated. Wisdom and availability are underrated.
God is always looking for available, wise people. Wisdom isn’t about being smart. Wisdom is understanding how God has designed life, and being experienced in following that design.
Second, power and position are overrated. Humility and faith are underrated.
What do you value? Are you trying to improve your skills and get smarter so you can serve God? Or for your own goals? Do you want more authority and prestige so that you can serve God? Or for your own goals?
Lastly, knowledge about God is overrated. Knowledge OF God is underrated.
I love what Paul writes to the church in Rome. I think it would apply to each of us today:
“Brothers and sisters, 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. God 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” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).
If you are a Christ follower, you were rescued and given new life because it is the habit of God to use unlikely people for His own loving and wise purposes. Today, thank Him for that, and think about how you can be an unlikely instrument of His love in someone else’s life.
“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord'” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).
To find out more about this topic, check out the series, The Great Rescue.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip