There is a commercial on now where Charles Barkley is taunting children because he is chosen 1st in a pick-up basketball game. Charles has a knack for being funny and self-deprecating at the same time. It is why he is loved by so many! But did you know you were 'chosen'? And ... chosen for a purpose!
We continue our series on God's purpose and finding our niche within that purpose. Isaiah 43 is filled with the purpose of God as the prophet lays out God's plan for salvation and restoration of Israel. And that plan is for us too!
Here's the kicker on what Isaiah is saying. God's word tells us about the plan. God's word shouts to the heavens about God's purpose. So why are so many lost, wandering and (in the words of the prophet) "walking in darkness (Isaiah 9:2)? Here is my theory!
The clothes dryer at the parsonage wouldn't shut off. I could have called the repair person, but that would cost at least $250. So, I did what I often do when I have something break down these days. I went to YouTube. Sure enough, someone else had this issue and there was a video that showed me just what to do. In the time it would have taken to call, schedule, meet and wait for the repair person (not to mention the time it would take to get the part) I ordered the part, spent 15 minutes switching out the old part, and repaired the dryer. I was able to do this because someone had taken the time and energy to describe the problem, offer a solution and tell me exactly what I needed to do.
Our world has a problem but also a solution. God creates us. God places us in a world where He is growing us from the image of God into the likeness of Christ. God gives us His word and His Son to show us how we can become used, useful and usable by God. God gives us a message of hope, healing and wholeness. And God calls us to Himself. In the words of what I said in the baptism of Mary Griggs yesterday, "all of this is God's gift, offered to us without cost (at least to us)." All of these are tools God provides so that we will seek and find our place in God's plan. Because God has created us to be His witnesses! We have Good News and we (if we are to follow God's plan) must tell!
God says "you are my witnesses (Isaiah 43:10)!" That means you and me. We are the tellers of God's truth, sharers of God's saving way and doers of God's word. This is how we witness!
God also says, "you are my servants (Isaiah 43:10)." We weren't made to serve our possessions, our recreational desires, our political persuasions or our idols. We were created to serve God, and God only.
And our message, though it gets garbled in denominational politics, secular interests and personal prejudices, is simple. God gave it to Israel direct, in Deuteronomy 6:4. "Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is one (the only) God." God gave it to Moses at a burning bush when He said, "I am the God that exists (Exodus 3:14)." God showed it from the cross as a Roman soldier kneeled and said, "Surely this is the Son of God (Matthew 27:54)!" And God gives it to you and me through word, presence, community, and His unfailing love. You are blessed because you know this! You are chosen witnesses, here to serve God. You have everything you need for this task. So, let's get to work! Randy