Ministry, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ Used by God

Originally published April 9, 2015

When I was sixteen years old, I was convinced God was calling me to be the next Sandi Patty (if you’re under 40, she was the Kari Jobe of my day). I had been singing solos and in church choirs since I was in the second grade. I was taking professional voice lessons and spent my first year of college as a vocal performance major. Not to toot my own horn here, but, while I’m not the greatest singer in the world, certainly not even in the top 10 or 20 percent, I’m also not one of those people you see during the audition rounds of American Idol who makes you want to conduct a nationwide manhunt for every person who ever lied to this poor soul and told her she could sing just so you can beat all of them senseless with a pitch pipe.

But anyway…

I had a modicum of talent and I wanted to put it to work doing “great things for the Lord.” I wanted God to use me- to put me on a stage every night in front of thousands of people so I could sing to them about Him.

Paragon of adolescent spiritual maturity that I was, it somehow never occurred to me to care what God thought about all this or what He might want to do in my life. If I thought about it at all, I just assumed He was on board with my plans. Like, how could He not be, right?

Because even in my day, that was the subtle message that was coming from the pulpit (and Christian media) and landing in the pew: If you really love Jesus and prove it by walking faithfully with Him, He’s going to use you to do some big, fat, hairy thing for Him. You’ll be the next David or Esther or Paul or Mary, and your name will go down in history just like theirs did. You’ll be famous, dahling.

Only I’m not really sure where Christian preachers, authors, and entertainers got this idea, because it sure as heck isn’t in the Bible.

The Bible knows nothing of the idea that we can behave our way into getting God to “use” us in some big way. Quite the opposite, in fact. Take a look at some of the “big names” in the Bible and what they were up to when God drafted them.

Noah- just a godly guy trying to survive a sin sick world

Moses- on the lam for murder and hanging out in the desert with a bunch of sheep

Paul- Christian-killer

David- more sheep

Gideon- just trying to feed his family

Peter- gone fishin’

Abraham- even more sheep

Were some of these guys walking faithfully with the Lord? Absolutely. But they were walking faithfully simply because they loved the Lord and desired to please Him, not with the goal of getting God to do some big thing in their lives. In fact, most of them were downright shocked when God showed up and revealed His plans for them.

And have you ever noticed that God doesn’t just use “good guys,” or guys who eventually become “good guys”? Ever read the story of Samson? Going strictly by his words and behavior mentioned in Judges 14-16, the dude comes off as a self-centered, slobbering ball of lust with anger management issues. Yet, knowing all about him before he was even born, God said He would use Samson to “…begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” (Judges 13:5)

And what about Pharaoh? In Exodus 9:16, God says to Pharaoh, “But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” The plagues…the parting of the Red Sea…I’d say God used Pharoah for His glory in a pretty big way.

God can use anybody He wants for any purpose He wants, and He’s not at the mercy of their behavior in doing so.

What do we mean when we say we want to be “used by God,” anyway? I think what we often have in mind is something awesome, something grandiose. Something that will bring us fame, fortune, and glory. I’ve never heard someone say she wanted God to use her for His glory like God used Job.

Or, for that matter, Jesus.

The greatest event in the universe, the one that brought God more glory than any other phenomenon in the history of ever, was also the most excruciating moment of sorrow and suffering eternity has ever known: the crucifixion of Christ for our sin.

When we say we want God to use us, we want the stupendous, not the suffering. The crown, not the cross. Yet it is often in suffering that God is most glorified. So, just whose glory is it we’re seeking, again?

If you live your life clamoring after God to make you an Esther or a Paul, or a Sandi Patty or a Billy Graham, you are almost certainly going to be disappointed. And not just because there are only a handful of “big name” God-followers out there compared to the nameless millions who have followed Him faithfully in obscurity, but because being used by God in some big, ostentatious way is not what He calls us to clamor after.

When you stand in front of God on the Day of Judgment, He’s not going to say, “Well done. You did some phenomenal things for Me that people are still talking about!” He’s going to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Faithful servants aren’t out to change the world, they just obey. They go where they’re told to go. They do what they’re told to do. And they do it to honor their masters.

For servants of Christ, most of the time that means getting up every day and doing the same humble tasks over and over for a lifetime: cooking meals, going to work, changing diapers, serving the church, cleaning the house. You know, servant stuff, all done to the glory of God. This is what God calls us to.

God doesn’t call us to seek to be used, He calls us to seek to be faithful.

“So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty’.” Luke 17:10

The famous people mentioned in this article are mentioned for frame of reference purposes only – because they are recognizable names with large platforms in evangelicalism – not because I’m recommending you follow them. I am aware of the biblical issues with each of them.


Guest Posts

Guest Post: A Portrait of the Heaven-Bound Slave

Since I’ve had to temporarily cut back on blogging I’ve asked some friends to contribute guest posts. If your theology pretty much matches up with mine (as outlined in the “Welcome” and “Statement of Faith” tabs) and you’d like to contribute a guest post, drop me an e-mail at, and let’s chat about it.

Kesha talents

A Portrait of the Heaven-Bound Slave
By: Kesha Griffin

When you think of the character of a Christian, what comes to mind? For some, we may think of loving, patient, kindness, giving, self-less, etc. (at least I hope this describes most Christians you know). Although all of these characteristics are important, I think many of us overlook one trait that our Lord often spoke about and held in high regard…faithfulness. In fact, the Bible teaches us that faithfulness (to the Word, to God, to His work) is a mark of a true believer. Sadly, we often hear how faithful God is to us (and He is), but rarely hear about the importance of being a faithful servant to our Master.

The Parable of the Talent is a great depiction of a faithful Christian. In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus is speaking to His disciples about the kingdom of heaven and begins telling them this parable of the talents. The parable involves a master, his three slaves, and the master’s talents (a measurement of gold, silver, money, etc.).The master represents Christ and the slaves represent believers and unbelievers. The story as told by Jesus, says the master was going away on a journey, and entrusted his slaves with his talents to manage while he was away. When the master returns home from his journey, his slaves show him what they did with the talents they were given.

Let’s examine the slaves in more detail:

#1- The Slave’s Portion
The master gave each slave a talent. The talent did not belong to the slave, it was entrusted to the slave. It belonged to the master (vs 14). Also notice, that the master gave each slave the amount he wanted them to have; One slave had five talents, one had two talents, and the other slave was given one talent. Finally, notice that the amount of the talents given to each slave was given according to their own ability (vs 15). The slaves didn’t ask the master to give them a certain amount of talents, the master decided how much, and to whom.

#2- The Slave’s Character
In the parable, two of the slaves immediately went out and starting working. This implies they had a sense of urgency, didn’t waste any time, and were eager to do the work of their master. It also appears these slaves were hard-working, searched for opportunity, put in effort, for the Scripture says they “went and traded” (vs 16). Lastly, not only did these slaves spend their time working diligently for their master, they found opportunities to make more for their master. They both doubled what was initially given to them.

The parable also reveals the character of the last slave. Although this slave was only given one talent, he went away, dug a hole and hid the money (vs 18). This implies that he didn’t want to work, there was no sense of urgency, and no desire to please his master. In fact, the Scripture says, he was “lazy and wicked” (vs 26). After burying his talent in the ground, he must have spent the rest of his time doing…whatever he wanted to do. His life was free from toiling for his master, he could do as he pleased.

Not only was this slave lazy but he had several excuses as to why he didn’t work for his master. He blamed his master, to the point of attacking the master’s character, saying that his master was a “hard” man (vs 24), and he blamed fear, said he was afraid (vs 25). He also tried to cover up his lack of effort by presenting the master the one talent he was entrusted with, as if he honestly wanted to please his master (vs 25).

#3- The Slave’s Reward
The two slaves who diligently worked for their master, both doubled their portion originally entrusted to them. Notice that although one slave ended up with ten talents, and the other four talents, they both received the same reward. The master commended them both and gave them more. How thrilled the slaves must have been to fulfill their obligated duty to work for the master, and to be rewarded by Him for doing so. What joy to hear their master say “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” (vs 21 and 23)

Sadly, the wicked and lazy slave received condemnation and punishment from the master (vs 26-28). The one talent he had was taken and given to the slave who had the most. His master called him a worthless slave and cast him into outer darkness, a place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (vs 30). How tragic.

It seems like a harsh punishment for a slave who was simply lazy right? Well, let me suggest that this lazy slave was not simply lazy. He is a depiction of an unbeliever. A person who is wicked, and who doesn’t have a relationship with the Master. Notice the slave didn’t want to work or even attempt to please the master (buried the talent in the ground). He didn’t appear to know (personally/intimately) the master well, he accused the master of being a hard man. He didn’t make the most of the talent that was given to him, not even investing it in the bank to gain interest (vs 27). He was disobedient, not wanting to do as the master instructed, and lived his life for himself, not for the master.

Faithfulness is a characteristic of a true believer. Although not perfectly, are we truly living for Jesus, working diligently to make the most of all he has given us (our time, spiritual gifts, money, etc.), like a faithful slave? Is it our goal to please our Master? When Jesus comes to “settle the account” with us, will we hear the Master say “Well done my good and faithful slave…enter in”?

Kesha LOVES finding hidden treasures buried in Scripture and learning how to apply them to daily living. Her heart’s desire is that every Christian woman is equipped with sound doctrine, so that she may know God truthfully and intimately, and learn how to fight life with the sword, the Word of God. Follow Kesha at and on Twitter: @MrsKeshaGriffin and @treasurebyKesha.