Often, we are led to believe that becoming a celebrity or seeking fame is the most effective way of making impact or achieving success. Young people are calculating their value on the whims and fancy of people subscribing or clicking the like button on social media platforms.
Additionally, society has extolled ‘being known’ over fulfilling purpose. We are led to believe that greatness achieved is measured only by how many people see and know us and how many speak well of us.
What the world considers impact
As I reflected on this new social media culture, it seems that everything is shared, and fame seems to be height of great achievement. I realize it is easy to get caught up in this culture. Even while desiring making a difference doing the work of the Lord.
During this time of reflection I recalled, what I will term, ‘unlikely characters’ mentioned in scripture; people, mentioned in the Bible, who are not, what I will term, ‘established characters.’ They are mentioned in scripture to have carried out great tasks, tasks that aided in the restorative work of the kingdom but are not ‘developed’ as other bible characters are.
Who are they?
In the book of Judges Chapter 4, we are introduced to a woman, Jael who gave shelter to Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite army, who was fleeing the army of Israel.
What she did was unexpected but monumental as it gave victory to Israel as God promised he would.
Note that Jael was the wife of a Kenite, and the Kenites were part of the Canaanite army who came against Israel. Yet, she was able to help Israel to victory by hammering a tent nail right through Sisera’s head. The death of the Canaanite commander left King Jabin unprotected.
“So, God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel.And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.” (Judges Chapter 4 verses 23-24)
Can you imagine, Jael, a woman hailed a hero? Yet not described with much importance killing the most important Canaanite soldier, enabling the army of Israel to subdue King Jabin and destroying his army.
Gideon, when called by God to lead an army to defeat the Midianites, was threshing wheat. He doubted God and even questioned His presence and power. He considered himself the least of his family and in his attempt to trust God, he asked for a sign/ confirmation to convince himself that God had truly called him.
Gideon reminds me of myself very uncertain, sometimes quite doubtful, often feeling unable to accomplish great tasks.
But as we read in Judges Chapters 6 & 7, look what God was able to do through a simple man who chose to trust God. He led an army of 300 men against a coalition army of Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples and led the Israelites to victory.
Are you as doubtful as Gideon, requiring confirmation after confirmation before taking a step of faith?
Widow of Zarephath
Imagine being an old widow, with your only child in a famine, only having enough food to make one last meal, and being asked to share with a stranger. This is how we are introduced to the unnamed widow of Zarephath in 1 Kings Chapter 17 verses 7 - 15. God instructed her to feed his prophet Elijah. She at first, hesitated, indicating she was prepared to die after the last meal she was heading home to prepare.
Why would God, seeing this widow’s situation, instruct her to care and prepare for the man of God in such a difficult time? But she through obedience was able to feed the man of God sustaining him for the work he had ahead of him as the prophet of the Lord. From her obedience God’s promises that she would have enough until rain returned to the land was fulfilled. She had more than enough for her son, herself and Elijah. All her needs were supplied during the famine.
Are you struggling financially, experiencing lack and believe that what you have is too small or insufficient to share? This widow who is unnamed in scripture proves that out of giving; even from the least of what you have, you will reap much gain.
What she did, sustaining the prophet of the Lord during a famine, kept him until the Lord sent him to King Ahab where he would have put God on display in front of 400 prophets of Baal.
Rahab, among all the characters I have so far mentioned, is the most contradictory character that was used to enable the work of God for Israel.
She was a prostitute, a woman and a liar.
What we see in Joshua chapter 2 verses 4 - 7, is a woman who risked her life, deceiving the King of Jericho, while she hid spies from Israel in her home. Her actions, which could have costed her life, caused the men to safely return to Joshua, to whom they gave a full report and assured him that God had truly given the land to the Israelites.
Joshua went on to capture the city of Jericho and Rahab and her family was saved.
God specializes in using the ‘unlikely’
It amazes me how often God uses contradictions to fulfil the purposes of the Kingdom. I mean Jesus himself was a contradiction, a King - born in a manger, from a family of carpenters. Yet, destined to conquer hell and the grave, our living saviour.
You may very well be an unlikely character; maybe you do not have the look, or maybe you don’t speak as eloquently as other. Maybe you are very doubtful, or an individual wanting to do more but always finding all the excuses in the world not to.
Remember, that God uses the most unlikely of characters for the work of the kingdom. You can be used by God and oh how amazing it is to know that despite our ‘unlikeliness’ Gods plan for the restoration of the world and the populating of His kingdom involves you.
Dacia Miller from Jamaica, West Indies is a wife, mother and trained communicator who enjoys dancing. She is involved in youth ministry and loves to see lives transformed.