This morning I read through the book of Amos (it’s only nine chapters). In chapter 7 I was struck by Amos’ openness and transparency. He was called as a prophet, which means he was sent to speak God’s words on behalf of God, and the message he had for the nations surrounding Israel, as well as for Israel and Judah, was not a pleasant message.
Amaziah the priest of Bethel tattled on Amos to Jeroboam the king of Israel because he had prophesied that Jeroboam would be killed in battle and Israel would be sent into exile. Amaziah told Amos to flee from Bethel and, essentially, to stop bothering Israel. Amos replied,
Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’”Amos 7:14-16
He’s saying that he’s no one special. He wasn’t born to the “right” family. He wasn’t raised to be a prophet. He was a shepherd and a farmer. He worked with his hands, engaged in manual labor. The only reason he was a prophet was because the Lord called him to be a prophet. Amos wasn’t about to make any claims to be special! His response is the equivalent of “I was just a plumber from Conklin and God called me to be a prophet.”
I suspect that Amos often felt the way I often feel—that I’m functioning just slightly beyond the limit of my competency. I’m not an elder in God’s church because I was born to the right parents and therefore received the right training, nor was I born with some innate ability to lead. I am serving in this capacity entirely because God called me to do it! (I’m sure God’s sense of humor is involved.)
As we pray today, please pray for those in leadership in our church. Pray for our elders, for Jim and Joel and Dan and Dave and for me. Pray also for our sister churches and their leadership. Pray for Marcus at Berean Baptist and for Zach at East Leonard and for Jerome at Coit Community and for Eric at Fourth Reformed and for Josh at Sunshine Community and for Ben at the not-yet-formally-launched-because-of-the-quarantine Gracehill and for Creston Church as they are currently without a lead pastor. While some of them may well be the sons of pastors, each would readily acknowledge his inadequacy for the task.
The reality of God’s work in this world is he uses means. That is, God chooses—most often—to use men and women to accomplish his purposes in this world. He could speak directly to a person, yet he usually uses another person to do it. For example, in the book of Acts God spoke to Cornelius in a vision to tell him Peter was coming to him with a message from God. If God spoke directly to Cornelius to tell him Peter had a message from him, why didn’t God simply deliver the message himself? God chooses to use means. God uses us to accomplish his purposes, which means God’s tools are not the, ahem, sharpest tools available to him, yet they are the tools he chooses.
Let’s pray for our church and our elders. Let’s pray for our sister churches and their elders. Let’s ask God to do incredible work through weak and barely competent people—including you—knowing that when he does, the glory is his alone.