By Peter Amsterdam
October 22, 2013
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For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few.
If God is for us, who can be against us?
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
The Family International’s fifth core value is:
The power of one. We value each individual and his or her unique talents, skills, and strengths. We believe that every person can contribute to changing the world by changing one heart at a time.
Jesus says to each of His followers, “I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit.” I find this to be a wonderful verse. It’s God’s personal vote of confidence in each of us. This should bolster our faith and provide the assurance that we can do what God asks of us, because He personally picked us for the job. You’re not just a random person that God happened to end up with. It’s not that He couldn’t find anyone else, so He got stuck with you. To the contrary, He chose you. Not only that, He appointed you. And to do what? To bear lasting fruit!
So we know that we have been divinely selected and appointed. We also know that, as individuals, God knows everything about us. He knows our frame. He knows what we’re capable of. He knows our gifts, talents, weaknesses, and strengths. And despite whatever we might think of ourselves or our lacks, He picked us for His team! He is certain that, with His power, we have what it takes to fulfill the role that He wants us to play.
When we look at ourselves through God’s perspective, it causes us to have godly respect for ourselves. As God’s children, we’re valuable. As Christians, we are His representatives, the bearers of His truth and message. That makes us pretty important! So don’t belittle yourself or talk yourself out of faith to do what He is asking you to do. You’re made in God’s image. You’re saved. God loves you so much that He let His Son die for you, so you must be awfully important. You are completely and perfectly loved by God. You have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. That’s an awesome thing. Clearly you have value to God, therefore you should value yourself also and realize that God can use you.
The secret in all of this is God’s power. The true value in the “power of one” is the power of the One who created us, redeemed us, and now asks us to glorify Him with our lives. I love this verse from the Gospel of Mark: “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.’” That is true power. And that is the power that we harness in the “power of one.” The “power of one” relies fully on the One we serve—Jesus.
We should also exhibit appreciation and respect for the gifts and talents of others. God can use every single person—anyone. Other people may have talents and gifts that you don’t have, but all gifts are needed within the Body of Christ. Most people need encouragement to develop and use their unique gifts, and when you encourage a co-worker to use their God-given talents, you empower them to do more for God.
God made each of us unique. There is no one else in the whole world that is just like you, with exactly the same experiences, knowledge, interests, or abilities as you. The Lord made you to be you. God intended for you to discover the natural talents and abilities that He gifted you with, to hone them, and to use them for your personal good and happiness, as well as to contribute to the good and happiness of others.
Each of us, as Christians, is called by God to bear lasting fruit. That means that each of us has something good and beneficial to bring to the table. Our natural gifts and talents, the way God made us, can be used by Him to first bear fruit within our own life journey, and second, to bear fruit in connecting others with Him.
When a person’s heart and life are changed upon coming to know and accept Jesus, they in turn are called, as His follower, to share the good news of salvation with others. It follows logically that God wants to use our unique talents, skills, and strengths to some extent in the mission of changing the world.
We can each contribute to the change needed in our world through living our lives as a reflection of Jesus, through letting the Holy Spirit shine through us, and through sharing the Gospel with others. We are called to be world-changers … by being heart-changers. We each have the power to positively affect people’s lives, but in order to do so, we need to intentionally use our gifts and talents, even our personalities, together with our time and effort, for God’s glory.
God wants to use you and your gifts as a unique expression of His love to humanity.
Knowing that God wants to use our individual gifts and talents for His glory, it’s fitting for us to discover what our gifts, talents, and abilities are. God gifts us with raw talent, and He expects us to invest in ourselves, to work at growing our gifts and honing our skills.
When you give yourself to God, He makes you a new creation. But He wants you to still be you—just what He envisioned when He created you. He doesn’t discard or change the raw talent that He put within you when He created you. As you put your talents to good use, He helps you to flourish. As C.S. Lewis said, “The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become—because He made us.”
You have the Holy Spirit, therefore you also have a gift or some gifts of the Spirit that God can use as you help others. The New Testament outlines these spiritual gifts, some of which are wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, working of miracles, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues, teaching, helping, and guidance. These are gifts of the Holy Spirit, given for our personal edification and for the edification of others within the Body of Christ.
Your natural talents, skills, and expertise, coupled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, provide an opportunity for the beautiful combination of your talent plus God’s Spirit to shine.
Nobody is too young, old, poor, or unlearned—or too anything else—to make a difference in God’s service. This story, printed in The Dawn, makes this point well:
Sir Michael Costa was once rehearsing with a large orchestra and hundreds of voices. Amidst the thunder of the organ, and the roll of the drums, the player on the piccolo said to himself: “In all this din, my little instrument doesn’t matter,” and he ceased to play. Suddenly the great conductor threw up his arms, and all was still. “Where is the piccolo?” he cried. God listens for [each of] our [parts] in His orchestra.
Here’s an excerpt from the Sunday School Times that serves as encouragement for us all:
There are certain qualifications we must have if we would be used of God. These qualifications do not include great learning, genius, riches, executive ability, and other similar assets that many of us will never have. Paul has told us, by inspiration, just what they are. D. L. Moody is quoted as follows: “Paul sums up five things that God uses: ‘the weak things,’ ‘the foolish things,’ ‘the base things,’ ‘the despised things,’ and ‘the things which are not.’ When we are ready to lay down our strength and our weakness before the Lord, He can use us.”
God made all types of people, and there isn’t one “type” of person that is most effective in reaching others for Jesus or making a difference in the world in the way God calls them. No matter how different you feel you are, there are other people in the world like you who will be attracted to you and who will identify with you. You will be able to interact with them with ease, and relate to them in a way that some others will be unable to.
Buckminster Fuller said:
“Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren't any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn't be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life's challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person.”
And how much more is this true if you’re working in teamwork with the God of the universe!
Sometimes we feel that if we’re not involved in a big or “great work,” that what we’re doing is of little value. There are many organizations that are doing tremendous works, giving back to the community, helping to improve people’s lives, and bringing practical and spiritual help on a large scale. Those are certainly great works, and they are extremely valuable and to be commended.
However, the question we should ask ourselves is: What is the Lord expecting of me? What is He asking of me? And am I doing it?
Greatness is doing the things that God asks you to do. If that is loving one person, that is your great work. If that is winning one soul to Christ, that is your great work. As the late Mother Teresa said: “We can do no great things—only small things with great love.” Doing a “great thing” for God is not necessarily measured by the size of the project or the thousands of people affected; it is measured by your obedience and faithfulness to do His will in your life, and the great love with which you carry out God’s request.
If you don’t know exactly what to do, or how God wants you to help grow His kingdom, or serve others, ask Him for guidance and leading. Commit your steps and decisions to Him, and trust that He will direct your path. He has a plan that will work for you, and if you’re open to Him, don’t worry, He will guide you.
You could also consider that maybe it’s time to just step out and do something. Do what you can. Try out a few things. If you start doing something, you’ll probably find out what you’re best suited to. You’ll feel the tug on your heart of the Lord’s leading. He will either confirm that you’re in the right spot or you’ll see that “no, it’s not this.” As the saying goes: “A boat has to be in motion before the rudder can take effect.”
If you’re a busy person, like most of us are, when you fit something new into your life, you’ll have to shave off a little time from somewhere. Serving others will displace something else from your life. That’s part of denying yourself and taking up your cross. It’s called service because you’re serving others; you’re giving of your time and strength. Anything that is worth something costs something. But we are disciples who are passionate about God and pursuing His Spirit, living active discipleship, and His love flows through us to those around us. Cost goes hand in glove with commitment.
If we want to live the “power of one” and let God use us to do His work, we have to actually take action and step out and do something. The first step is in our court. We have to get up, stop procrastinating, and take that step. When we do, God will multiply our efforts.
I want to read some quotes from men and women of God who understood the power of one.
Billy Graham summed it up in one sentence:
“One with God is a majority.”
Helen Keller said:
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”
It’s easy to feel alone, and it’s natural to feel a bit shaky when you step out, hoping and praying that God will use you. You might lack finances, or not speak the local language, or feel that you have a big learning curve ahead of you, but that’s when we have to focus on the power of God to help us.
Oswald Chambers addressed our fears of inadequacy and insufficiency when he said:
“When it is a question of God's almighty Spirit, never say, ‘I can't.’”
John Wesley admonished:
“Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the souls you can, in every place you can, at all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, as long as ever you can.”
If you feel that there are few opportunities in your life today for service, perhaps you are in a time of preparation.—In God’s workshop, so to speak, where He is fashioning you with the tool of patience, as you exhibit faithfulness in the seemingly small, mundane things of life. If you feel that your life has little or no outlet for worthy service, be encouraged by this thought from A. B. Simpson. “God is preparing His heroes. And when the opportunity comes, He can fit them into their places in a moment. And the world will wonder where they came from.”
We’re sometimes tempted to despair, feeling that there’s not enough time to accomplish what we feel is God’s will in our lives. We’re often impatient and want to get to our goals more quickly. But God is not often in a hurry. We can comfort ourselves with the knowledge that God always gives us enough time to do His will.
God has a part for every one of us to play in building His kingdom on earth. The way to grow the kingdom of God is to reach out to others and invite them to join in this wonderful life of love and redemption that we live. You don’t have to be a public speaker to partake in the Great Commission. You don’t have to have thousands of friends and acquaintances to share the Good News with. You don’t have to have a gregarious personality. This is where the “power of one” comes into play. You—just you—can reach out to one person. Befriend one person and share the Good News with them. God is calling you to be part of His grand plan to change the world one heart at a time. And that’s something that each one of us can be part of. When we apply the “power of one,” others will come to know Jesus. And their “power of one” will in turn reach others.
When you meet someone and make a difference in their life, and bring them the gift of salvation, how priceless is that? Few people in the world have the privilege of impacting another person’s life in an eternal way, but we have that privilege because we have Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit, and we intentionally witness and bring people to Him. What a privilege. What a thrill, really.
As Henry Thoreau said:
“When it's time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived.”
Let’s truly “live” and step up to the plate of usefulness that God has for us by:
Let’s be all that God made us to be! Amen?
Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptures are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 1 Corinthians 1:26–29.
 1 Samuel 14:6b.
 Romans 8:31.
 John 15:16.
 Philippians 4:13.
 Mark 10:27.
 2 Corinthians 5:17.
 1 Corinthians 12:7–11.
 Luke 9:23.