Date: January 29, 2019 (Training)
Bible Text: | Betty Swann
Series: Pillar Eight
It is wonderful to learn about Jesus. There is just not anyone like Jesus, is there? He can change your life in an instant. He can answer a prayer in an instant. God loves you so much. You are very, very special to God. He even directed you to this teaching because he wanted to talk to you. He had something he wanted to say to you.
Today we are talking about heroes and insignificant people. Everybody loves a hero. We like to watch sports heroes, movie heroes, book heroes, but not everybody is a hero. One of the recent lessons I taught was “Leaders from Nowhere.” It was how people who are in the background rose up and became great leaders under King David. Today, we are talking about insignificant people. What about the insignificant people in the Bible? Can your life count? Can your life matter? Do you find yourself saying, “I do not even know if I have done anything and now I am old and I do not think my life has counted for very much." I was a good mother or good father. I was a good neighbor. I tried to help people. I do love Jesus. I know Him but I do not know if my life had very much significance.”
Something I have always thought about is that you might be president of the United States, but if your neighbor needs her dog picked up from the dog groomer and she cannot do it and you do it for her, how significant are you to her? It is really about how significant you are in the lives of the people around you. You may be very successful, made a lot of money and have done a lot with your life. People may know your name, it may have even been in magazines or a book. It is not about success as much as it is about significance.
What are you doing with your life that is significant? I was attending a church service in Austin, Texas, and the pastor said, “What are you doing with your life to help someone who can in no way help you back?” I thought, “Nothing.” Everybody I help can help me back. It just sent me on a journey. I could not quit thinking about it. Right after that God called me to a jail ministry. What an amazing thing; helping people in the worst time of their lives. God still cares. Jesus still cares about them. He even says “I was in jail and you visited me.” Are you surprised to learn that there are Christians in jail? Christians can mess up just like anybody else. Sometimes they can do things that God certainly did not want them to and now they are having to pay the price of it but it does not mean that God has abandoned them. I knew a lady one time in Hereford, Texas, whose life was so messed up. She had finally just kind of gotten to the end and was in jail again. I do not know how many times that woman had been in jail again. She was so depressed. We went to see her. A friend and I went into this little jail to see her. She said, “I had an amazing thing happen last night. Really, what? I was sitting on my bed in this cell and so depressed, just looking at the bars, had my head down. All of a sudden I saw some feet and they had sandals on. I could not really look up very high, but I knew the Lord had come to me in that jail cell.” That is an insignificant woman in the eyes of the world and Jesus cared so much about her that He came and she saw and experienced the Lord in a very powerful and miraculous way.
Insignificance only stands out when you compare yourself to other people that are doing big things. One of the future lessons I am going to be teaching is the sin of comparison. Today, we want to study some people in the Bible that you have maybe never thought about. Maybe you will remember their names but maybe you think you have never even heard of that person. And yet look at what a big thing they did. We are going to study three people like that. These people happened to be in the right place at the right time. They had open hearts and they got their names written in the Bible. What an amazing thing! Just one of the people who stuffs envelopes and sends these newsletters out to people, she said her son passed away and people felt like he really had not done that much with his life until all of these people started calling her house saying, “Let me tell you what he did for me.” One lady said, “He always wanted to make sure I had coffee.” Little tiny things, but how important was it to that lady? Why was that important? It was because it made her feel valued. He had the gift of people feel valued because he cared about them. How significant is that? It is huge!
The first Scripture I want you to look at is in Corinthians 9:12-14 “This service that you performed is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but it is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.” That is what people do, when you do some kind of a service that meets the needs of God’s people, it causes them to thank God because they know it came from the heart of God to them. I think that people need that more than anything. They need to know. Does God love me? If he does, does He show me? There, you are doing your job and they are overflowing with thanks to God. What else does this verse say? “Because of the service by which you have proved yourself, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the Gospel of Christ.” It is not enough to just say, “Yeah, I know Jesus. Oh yeah, I know Jesus. I know the Lord. Hallelujah!” It is about obedience. What has God called you to do and are you doing it? And then it says, “And for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.” What is generosity? It is more than just giving. It is giving abundantly. That is how God is. “And in their prayers for you, their hearts will go out to God.” Their hearts go out to you first and then their hearts go out to God because of the surpassing grace that God has given you. Do you see what I am talking about? Are you getting it? It does not matter if it is big and significant or little and insignificant, when you have done it with the heart of God, they realize that and they overflow with praise to God. I know I certainly do.
How do you know which direction to go in? How do you know what to do that counts with God? Here is the next Scripture. “Philippians 2:13, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” Sometimes people say, could it be God or is it just me. I want to do it. Yes, it is God because God put the desire inside of you. Is that true for everybody? Probably not; there are too many people out there doing what they want to do and they have not given God the time of day. Right? People who love the Lord and want to be used in the Kingdom of God and want to be a representative and want Jesus Christ to be uplifted, look at what the desires of your heart are. God put those in you. Have you stopped and thought about it. I know they are there. Then, you think, “How will I get it done? This is what I have always wanted to do but what if I am not good at it? What if I do not succeed at it? What if I do a crummy job at it?” Look at what that verse says. “He gives you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” You can just say, “Lord, just let Your power flow through me. Let her rip Lord. I mean, let her rip. I want to touch people’s lives.” I am getting to do what I want to do doing this. I love to talk. I love to encourage people. I love to help people believe they can be more than they ever thought they could be and I love to help them see ways to do it. I am getting to do this. I hope that those of you that are watching this today begin to think, what are my dreams? What am I good at? What are my gifts? What are my talents?
Now we are going to talk about some people in the Bible who served God in such important ways. The first one is in the book of Genesis. Their names are Jochebed and Amram. Have you ever heard of Amram? Have you ever heard of Jochebed? If you read the Bible a lot and you like to study the Bible, you are probably sitting there going, “Yep, I know who they are.” The rest of you are going, “Who?” They were the parents of three people who made a powerful impact on their world and on our world thousands of years later. Who were they? Three people were called into the ministry out of one family. Who were they? Aaron, Miriam and Moses. They were the parents. What was so special about this couple, because they are insignificant? Most people have never heard of them. They did their job. Their job was to raise three children who were going to be used by God to touch a nation, actually to touch two nations. Miriam was the young girl who put her little brother, Moses, in the basket and watched to make sure that he was safe and the crocodiles did not eat him in that little basket. She made sure that Pharaoh’s daughter found him crying in the bulrushes and then said, “Would you like me to get someone to nurse him for you?” The princess said yes and she said that she would go get somebody. Moses mother got to nurse her own baby and watch him be raised in a palace. Aaron was the older brother and Moses, when he grew up, for some reason did not feel like he was a good speaker. Some people think he stuttered. He just said “I do not have a good speech.” Aaron became his mouthpiece because Aaron was a good speaker.
What did these people do that was significant in raising these children? They raised each child to be an individual. They did not raise them to be just like themselves. That is probably the hardest thing to do as a parent is it not? You have dreams and goals for your child and then all of a sudden your child is not the least bit interested in that. Nothing you do makes them interested in it. You are frustrated. Instead of saying, “Now wait a minute, what is my child good at? What does my child like to do? Where do I see the desires God has put in that child’s heart? How can I help them?” Miriam was a prophetess and she had this incredible ability to write songs and sing. Do you think that mother encouraged her? “Oh honey, your voice is just from God.” That is the significance that this insignificant couple had. They watched their children. They protected their children. They watched over them and they released them to be what God wanted them to be. What made that so hard? You say, “A lot of families do that.” Yes, but how hard is it to do it when you are having to live in a country that is not your own land. You are not familiar with the customs. It is a little bit dangerous and in this case it was extremely dangerous because the pharaoh had ordered all of these children killed and Moses was saved. This mother raised that child until she absolutely had to give him up to Pharaoh’s daughter. ?
Who is somebody else that you do not know about? This one, they never give his name. You know, there are a lot of people in the Bible that they never tell their name. Our names are important to us. They never tell their name, they just have a description of them. For instance, Naaman the leper, you know that story about how he was the commander of the army and he had leprosy. It just says “The little servant girl told him to go to Elijah and get prayed for.” She was never named and she may have looked insignificant because she was a little Hebrew slave in another country but she was the one who got him to the place where he could be healed.
Who is this person I am talking about? Turn to Genesis 24 and we will look at the chief servant of Abraham. Now Abraham was very, very wealthy. God prospered him beyond belief. Abrahame obeyed God, he did what God said and God prospered him. God wants to prosper everybody. It says that in I John, “Beloved, I wish above all else that you might prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” God wants to prosper people. He just wants to make sure your soul is prospering at the same time. Abraham’s was. He had a main servant that had been with him a long time. Now how do I know that he had been with him a long time? You kind of have to read things into the Bible. You have to put yourself in that story and just think about it. It says, “One day Abraham said to his oldest servant, the man in charge of his household.” That man had been with Abraham a long time in order that Abraham put him in charge of his household. God always wants to prosper you and raise you up, but you have to be found faithful. You have to prove yourself in all kinds of little things. Let me ask you this. No matter how important you are today, is it beneath you to pick up a broom and sweep a room out, clean a window or pick up some trash? God is always watching you and checking you out to see, “Will you do anything I ask you to do?”
This servant is an older man. That is real important, I think that is key, because he is wise and he knows his master. He knows what his master likes and he is in charge of the household; so he is a very organized and very disciplined man. However, what God asks him to do requires great faith, strength and character. This man had all of that because he had to go to another country. Again, it is a case of an insignificant person being used to do something that had huge significance. Huge! God does that all of the time. He will use you and you may think that nobody even knows what you did. Yet God put you in the right place at the right time. If you had not been there, it would not have happened.
Think about Abraham. Isaac had been born, finally. They had waited so long to get a baby. They were old. Abraham was 100 years old and his wife was 90 years old. They were way past childbearing and they had a miracle. They got the miracle baby and then God said put him on the altar. I want to see if I mean more to you than him. He did and he still had his child. God provided a ram in the bush, like He always does when he tests you. Now it was time to get this child married. God has already said to Abraham, “Your seed is going to be like the sands of the seashore, like the stars in the sky.” How important do you think it would be to get the right woman for this child to marry? It means everything. Everything. Who would you pick? He picked the head of his household. He trusted that man so much. He had worked with Abraham under all kinds of conditions. He had seen what this man would do in all kinds of situations. That is why I am telling you, big or little in terms of importance, be found faithful with a good attitude. He sends this man out and he says, “I want you to go and I want you to swear to me by God, the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not allow my son to marry one of these local women, these local Canaanite women. Instead, I want you to go to my homeland and my relatives and find a wife. Now you know in those days you did not just get in the car and five hours later you were 200 miles down the road or 500 miles down the road. You did not get on an airplane and fly halfway across the country or all the way across the country or to another country. It was a big deal to go on a trip back to where Abraham had come from. It was a long way from where he was now. The servant asked a very honest question. What if I cannot find a young woman who is willing to travel so far from home? Should I take Isaac then to live among your relatives there?” Abraham said, “Absolutely not. Be careful to never take my son there, for the Lord God of heaven who took me from my father’s house and my native land solemnly promised to give this land to my descendents and He will see to it that you find a wife there.”
There is faith that has to be involved when you step out for big things. You have to have that faith that God is who he says He is and He will do what he says he will do. In fact, He says, “He will send His angel ahead of you and that angel will see to it that you find a wife there for my son.” You never thing about that, do you, when you are doing something that nobody does you are doing if they do not know who you are. Did you ever think about that God wants you to do something that is so meaningful to Him that He could send an angel ahead of you to make sure it happens? “If she is unwilling to come back with you,” Abraham said, “then you are free from this oath. Under no circumstances are you to take my son there.” The servant took the oath. He swore to follow the instructions. He loaded up the camels with all kinds of gifts.
By the way, I just road a camel. One of my goals in life was to ride a camel. I do not know why I wanted to do that but it was real important to me. When I went to Africa this time, we were at a place that had a camel you could ride. Here I was in a dress and I thought, “I do not care. I want to ride a camel. I may never get to Egypt, even though I want to go to Egypt too, but I want to ride a camel.” I paid this man and I got on this camel. I wish I had the picture to show you. You would laugh. I certainly did not look like Abraham’s servant. He went to where he thought he should go, where the relatives were. He prayed a significant prayer, almost like putting out a fleece, in fact he kind of did. That is what I think he did. “Oh Lord God of my master, please give me success today and show unfailing love to my master.” He was not asking anything for himself. He knew he was insignificant compared to Abraham and what Abraham’s call was, but he still had the faith to talk to God and ask for big things. “See, I am standing here beside this spring and the young women are coming out. Here is my request. I will ask one of them, please give me a drink from your jug. If she says yes, have a drink and I will water your camels too, then I will know she is supposed to be the wife of Isaac. That is how I will know.” That is pretty scary, putting it all out there with something like that. What else was he going to do? How was he going to know? That is what he figured out to do.
The Bible says that before he had finished praying Rachel came up. How did that happen? It was because the angel went ahead of him, nudging Rachel to get on up there. She was the daughter of the brother of Abraham. She was beautiful and old enough to be married. She came down to the spring. He said to her, “Please give me a drink from your jug.” She said, “Oh yes” and then when she gave him that, he did not even have to ask her to draw water for his camels. She said, “Oh, I will draw water for your camels too.” Remember, that is what he asked, that she would do both of those things. He watched her, wondering whether or not the Lord had given him success. Is this the one? This has just happened. Is this the one? At last when the camels had finished, he decided this is the one because he gave her gold rings, gold bracelets, asked who she was. She said, “I am the daughter. My grandparents are Nahor and Melka.” That was Abraham’s parents. What did the man do first, before he did anything else? He bowed low and worshipped God. “Praise the Lord. He has shown his unfailing love and faithfulness to my master, for he has led me straight to my master’s relatives.” She came back with him and began to serve in God’s kingdom as the wife of Isaac and you know the rest of the story.
I am going to tell you about two more insignificant people. Have you ever heard of Bezelel and Oholiab? Who were they? You know about Solomon building the temple and God saying, “Solomon, David was too much of a warrior. Too many people died. I want you to build a temple and here is how I want it done.” Who were they in terms of being insignificant people? They were not in their own right, in their own little world, they were jewelers and craftsmen. They designed the beauty of that temple which people still talk about today.
Who is somebody else that had a big job but was insignificant? The scribe that worked with Jeremiah; his name was Baruch. We would have none of the words of Jeremiah if it weren’t for this scribe. My call from God is Jeremiah 1:5. He wrote down carefully every thing that God said to Jeremiah, everything Jeremiah said to him and even everything that happened.
I know a lady today that said, “What am I doing in the end times? God, I do not count for anything. I am so ordinary. Does my life have any meaning? No one sees what I am doing.” Do you know what she was doing? She was working in a major hospital rocking babies whose mothers had life-threatening situations and one baby was named Sassy and she became known as “Sassy’s Cuddler.”. She was doing what God called her to do. Was it important? Was it significant? It was to Sassy. It was to the mother. It was to God because it was the answer to prayer. How can you know for sure what God has called you to do? Just say yes. Just say yes to God and do it with all of your might. God wants to use your life. He wants to make it significant even if no one else knows it.
QUIET TIME QUESTIONS
1. Who is the main person in this lesson?
2. Briefly describe what they did for God.
3. What scripture about this person is meaningful to you and why?
4. In what ways do you find yourself relating to this person or their experience?
5. How does this lesson influence your thoughts about God or the way you walk out your beliefs?
Download Files Notes
Topics: People of the Bible Speak