Ever wondered what the reason is that you are at this specific place and time in your life? Well, if that thought has not crossed your mind at least once in your lifetime, then it’s time that it does. Scripture shows us that our lives can have a tremendous impact in the kingdom of God. I want to show you briefly from three people in the Old Testament and two in the early church who’s lives changed the course of Gods chosen people.
Joseph – He was taken away from his parents at a very early age; he had to endure life’s hardships and troubles as well as good times. When he was reunited with his family, the brothers repented of their wrongdoing towards him, but he answered them: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” (Genesis 50:20-21) He realised later in his life that what he had to endure was not about him, but about the plan of God for His people. He obeyed and a whole nation was saved through whom the promised Messiah was brought into the world.
Esther – This young girl was taken from her home and made part of the king’s palace. She did not know the purpose of her life and why she was going through this ordeal. Her uncle Mordecai came to learn about Haman’s plot against the Jews, and prompted Esther to speak to the king. She was reluctant and eventually her uncle came with this profound wisdom: “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14). This made her realize that it’s not about young Esther in the palace, but again the plan of God for His people. Mordecai said that God will raise someone else to effect His deliverance, but maybe she was God’s chosen vessel at that specific point in history. And she was. Up to this day Jews still celebrate the Purim as remembrance of God’s deliverance.
A young girl – Naaman, the Syrian, had leprosy. In his battles he just happened to take a young, nameless Jewish girl, captive to his own land. She had pity on him and suggested that he should go back to Israel, to the prophet, and the God of the prophet will heal him. After being angry, frustrated, and ridiculed by the silly order of Elisha, he reluctantly obeyed his servants who advised him he had nothing to lose by at least doing what the prophet said. In the end he was miraculously healed and made the following confession: “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel” (2 Kin. 5:15). This young girl was just concerned about her new master – heathen master to be more accurate. But she was God’s chosen vessel to bring Him glory in a heathen ruler’s life!
Athanasius – Not many people no this man, but he had a huge impact on the course of the church. A man named Arias started with the false doctrine denying the divine nature or the Lord Jesus. According to him the Son of God was created as subordinate to the Father. With this he denied all the Bible teaches about the divine nature of Jesus Christ and the Trinity (the roots of the Jehova’s Witnesses). Athanasius stood up against this heresy. Through his perseverance against this heresy, Arius was proclaimed a heretic and to today the Reformed traditions still upholds both the Nicean Creed and the Creed of Athanasius (built on the Trinitarian and Christological focus that he stood for and believed in). The body of Christ was saved from a terrible heresy through one man who was obedient to the truth and devoted to the service of his Lord and Saviour.
Martin Luther – This monk came to the realization of the terrible state the of the church under the reign of the popes and bishops who kept its members in bondage to the church system. Through God’s grace he came to know that salvation is by faith alone and not through the corrupt works of man. He nailed his 95 thesis to the church door, and this act of “stupid obedience” forever changed his life. He stood up against the structures of authority, risking everything – even his life. We all know the powerful result of his willingness to stand up for the truth that he knew was only knowable through faith in Christ as Lord and Savior and the Word of God. The body of Christ was once again saved by God through a willing and obedient servant.
Did they know that there lives would have such an impact? No. They were all obedient at that specific time that God raised them up to duty. Were they praised for what they did? For sure not, but that was not there purpose to gain glory for themselves. They were raised up for God’s purpose – to protect and deliver His people from destruction and to the ultimate glory of God alone.
You ask what is your purpose? Maybe God has raised you up at a time such as this to work His purpose of glory through you. What does He ask of you? Obedience, trust, steadfastness, faith, willing to bear the cross daily and let Him do whatever He wishes to bring about through your life. And in the end may His Name be glorified and His mighty deeds be proclaimed! Soli Deo Gloria!