NOT WHO YOU WOULD EXPECT                                                                                                 Andy Hollifield 9-5-18

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

I do not claim to be an expert on this, but I have noticed over the years that most Christian folk are glad to work in the church if they only get asked. I know there are some that wouldn’t strike a lick at a snake if it was about to bite them, but most are willing. We found out several years ago that there are senior saints in all of the supporting churches of H.O.P.E. Ministries that have hidden talents. They crochet or knit and often have no one to give their stuff to. We began to invite them to make scarves and toboggans for veterans and toboggans for babies and other folks to go in our shoebox gifts. Every year we have a lot of them, sometimes in big trash bags, that come in for us to find a home for. The reason I mention that is because it is a really good example that some of the most unlikely folks can become the greatest blessing.

I guess what got me started thinking about it was a video I saw on Facebook. It was a shepherd demonstrating for a group of folks, John 10:3-5 where Jesus said that the shepherd leads his sheep out and calls them by name. He goes on to say that they know his voice and will not follow a stranger. This man let several of the group step to the edge of the pasture and give them the call that he always gave. Most of the sheep didn’t even look up and none of them came a step closer. Then the shepherd stepped forward and gave the call. When the sheep heard his voice they looked up to see him and then came running to the shepherd. When he went to walk through the pasture, they all followed him even without being told to. This wasn’t just a couple of sheep but about forty. There are a lot of things you can talk about concerning sheep but the shepherd is kind of who I want to look at.

In bible days, a shepherd was not looked on with high esteem. I imagine because they lived with the sheep continually, they were probably dirty and clothes ragged and torn. They probably even smelled like the sheep because they were always having to doctor or shear or rescue them. Although they were one of the lower social classes in their day, it was shepherds that God first announced Christ’ birth to by angels. They were the first to carry the gospel, spreading the “good news” of Jesus’ birth. Not exactly who you would expect for such an honor to be bestowed upon is it?

Can you imagine what a young boy with five loaves and two fish must have thought when the disciples came and asked him to give them to Jesus? No one really knows why he was even in the crowd that day. That is, apart from it being the plan of God for that young boy to provide food for over five thousand men besides women and children. Not really who you would choose to cater a meal to a multitude of that size is it?

One of my favorite examples is this one; God used women to be the first to spread the news of Jesus’ resurrection. Not just women, but the first to talk to him after the resurrection was one that had been possessed with seven devils. Eleven preachers gathered in a room somewhere and God used some faithful women that were coming to tend to his body for burial to proclaim the news that has rocked the world ever since. What an honor for those godly women! You couldn’t have seen that one coming either could you?

This next one is the very last one that any of us would have invited to a gathering. After having denied the Lord three times, Peter had went out and wept bitterly. He was already with the other disciples who, by the way, had forsaken Jesus and fled the night he was arrested. If it had of been us, we probably wouldn’t have even wanted to meet with the disciples after them having forsook us. Definitely Peter would have been the very last one I would have wanted to see. Aren’t you glad the Lord isn’t like us? Not only did he meet with them, he breathed on them and blessed them with the Holy Ghost. One third of the Holy Trinity and he is giving it to those that had forsaken and denied him. If that wasn’t honor enough, he used the one that had publicly denied him, to carry the gospel to the Gentiles and establish his church.

Time fails me to talk about Samuel the boy priest in training, or his mom who prayed to receive him from God. She then gave him back to the Lord and he became the greatest priest Israel has ever known aside from Jesus. Also there is David, the shepherd boy who went from delivering lunch to his brothers in battle to becoming a giant killer and a hero to his country all in one day. None of these are who you expect for what they did.

Maybe you’re not either. I know I wasn’t. I knew a lot of preachers and I sure didn’t expect God to call me to be one. I never gave a thought to doing any mission work even remotely similar to what God has me doing. I am definitely not what anyone would expect. I’m not very eloquent or polished and there is a thousand other reasons why I am not what anyone would expect for all the Lord lets me do. In a conversation among anybody about preachers and missionaries, my name probably wouldn’t have been mentioned. And to write a post to encourage people. I am sure my teachers would have never expected that.

Senior ladies, shepherds, a little boy, a group of women, eleven unfaithful preacher friends, one that publicly denied the Lord, and me. None of these would have ever been expected to do what they done. This proves that God can use anybody for anything, any time and any place he wants to. Even you, even if you’re not who you would expect. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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