My friend Yvonne is not a swimmer.
She’s tried to learn, but she’s still a bit uncomfortable in the water.
Maybe that’s why I did my best to get her wet the other day when we all ended up down at the river.
“Come on in!” I called out to her as she safely watched us from a rock over on the riverbank.
My girls and I cheered her on as she bravely made her way into the waist-deep water. It was easy to see the rocky bottom, so I think Yvonne was okay with it – until we started to see the fish!
While we were looking, somehow two of my children thought it would be a good idea to test out the current as it rippled speedily over some rocks nearby. And I barely noticed them until my youngest cried out ...
as she struggled against the force of the water that threatened to push her downstream.
Afraid, I told my daughter to stand up; thinking she’d be swept away. But the look in her eye told me she couldn’t do as I asked.
And I knew that I had to go in after her.
Now I love to swim. My parents had a pool when I was younger, and I swam competitively in high school - so getting to where my daughter stood was the easy part. But getting her out was an entirely different story.
Panic washed over me as the water pushed hard against us.
Repeatedly, I tried to pull my daughter by her life jacket and push her in front of me, but we weren’t going anywhere. I reached for a grip on the huge rocks below, but they were rounded and slippery and offered no help.
After my foot wedged in some rocks and I lost my water shoe, I knew I needed help and began to search the shore, looking for my friend Yvonne.
She was unaware of our situation and was making her way out when I called out to her.
But Yvonne must have picked up on the panic in my voice, because she left her inhibitions over at the river bank, made her way over to us and bravely reached into the current.
I don’t know when I’ve been more grateful to grab someone’s hand.
The rescue surprised all of us – especially Yvonne. And talking about it later, we marveled at the way the tables had been turned and how God used an unlikely hero to save all of us.
Jesus the carpenter was from Nazareth. And not at all what the Jews expected when they pictured their Messiah. Nathanael, a later disciple, even slammed Jesus’ hometown when he first met him saying “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there? …” John 1:46.
No, the Jews were looking for someone much different. A king even, to come and lead them out from under the thumb of Rome.
Surely not a carpenter from Nazareth.
ut just like I would never have dreamed that someone who didn’t even like the water would have saved my family that day, the Jews were in for a surprise, weren’t they?
Because, yes --something good did come from Nazareth.
You see, God doesn’t always use the most predictable heroes to do his work. Those appearing valiant, proud and strong don’t always get picked by him.
Just look at Moses (slow of speech), David (the youngest of all Jesse’s sons) and Gideon (cowardly).
But all these men ended up doing great things for God.
Often I think we tend be comfortable sitting in the shadows of those we feel are better than us. The more qualified, the better looking, the higher skilled – you know who I’m talking about.
When God calls us to a task, we may be tempted to echo Moses in saying “Not me God, surely there’s somebody better.”
But I think that God likes using people like us because when we come to the end of our abilities -- we’ve got nowhere else to turn but to him.
And in the end, when the job is done --we can boast in him alone.
Here are some Bible verses that'll help you on your journey:
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 The Voice
26 Look carefully at your call, brothers and sisters. By human standards, not many of you are deemed to be wise. Not many are considered powerful. Not many of you come from royalty, right?
27 But celebrate this: God selected the world’s foolish to bring shame upon those who think they are wise; likewise, He selected the world’s weak to bring disgrace upon those who think they are strong.
28 God selected the common and the castoff, whatever lacks status, so He could invalidate the claims of those who think those things are significant. 29 So it makes no sense for any person to boast in God’s presence.
30 Instead, credit God with your new situation: you are united with Jesus the Anointed. He is God’s wisdom for us and more. He is our righteousness and holiness and redemption. 31 As the Scripture says: “If someone wants to boast, he should boast in the Lord.”
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