Allow God to Use You!
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)
How many times do we look at our short-comings and tend to think God cannot use us? Or say, “If only I had this talent or that talent, I could accomplish much for the kingdom of God!”
God is not going to wait for us to get good enough. No, instead He will use us in our weakness. But, it requires us to make a commitment to trust in Him whole-heartedly, acknowledging Him in all we do. Then He will lay out our path before us.
Dwight L. Moody is a perfect example of this principle. He founded a school, church, and publishing company that still impacts our world today. He became one of the most persuasive orators and greatest evangelists of the 1800s. He won a million souls to the kingdom of God over a forty-year span! And in our minds today, we think, “Boy, that man was gifted!” However, reality was totally different.
Born in Massachusetts in 1837, his father, who was a stonemason and small farmer, died when Dwight was only four. Creditors came in and took all that his family had resulting in a childhood of poverty. He had to drop out of school in the fifth grade in order to help support the family. This left him with very broken grammar causing him to believe later in his life that he could only work with children. At 17, he went to Boston to sell shoes with his uncle who required that Dwight attend church. He trusted Christ there but because of a lack of religious education, he had to wait an entire year to join the church. His teacher even commented that Dwight was the most unlikely person ever to become a Christian!
At 19, he moved to Chicago where the church he was involved with told him he couldn’t teach but could only bring children. This was because he could barely read himself, much less teach. He promptly filled four pews with street kids, but they were rowdy and smelly, troubling the church folks. That led Dwight to rent a saloon, and he invited kids from the worst part of town to attend. Soon the numbers grew to 300.
He quickly outgrew the saloon and rented a Hall for which he recruited teachers from surrounding churches. Eventually up to 1,500 children were attending his meetings (even President-elect Lincoln visited). When the Civil War broke out, Dwight worked with the YMCA and visited the battlefront often, thereby learning how to lead adults to Christ. All of this led to his starting a church in Chicago, the Illinois Street Church.
In 1872, he traveled to London to conduct evangelist rallies, and for two years, he would return drawing thousands from all over England. When he returned state-side, his meetings would often draw crowds of 12,000 to 20,000. He conducted evangelistic rallies from Boston to New York and from Vancouver to San Diego, even attracting President Grant and cabinet officials to a meeting in January 1876.
I think many of us are like Dwight L. Moody. If he had looked at his short-comings alone—lack of education and proper upbringing, inability to speak well, and what others told him (including that he was so ignorant he couldn’t join the church at salvation and that he was only fit to bring children to church)—then God would have been short-changed a mighty work that has lasted even to today not to mention all the souls that were brought into the kingdom by Dwight. But, he was faithful and took small steps working in the kingdom, keeping his trust in God. Because of this, God grew his ministry into something far beyond anything Dwight could imagine.
We need to get our eyes off of ourselves (“do not lean on our own understanding”) and as Proverbs says, “Trust the LORD with all your hearts…In all your ways acknowledge him…” Let God guide us step by step to do kingdom work. We never know where that first, small step for Him will take us! “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10)!