For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (1 Cor. 1:25–29)
Before we wrap up, I need to deal with perhaps the single greatest obstacle that prevents followers of Christ from becoming the people he intends them to be; I call it the loser syndrome, the belief that you don’t have what it takes to do anything significant for God. You’re not smart, rich, talented, courageous, or spiritual enough to make much difference. Once you have allowed yourself to believe this lie, it will become self-fulfilling: You won’t be very useful to God.
There is a related issue that will also render you fairly useless—the attitude that if only you had been dealt a better hand of cards, you could have done so much more. But hear this: God doesn’t make any losers. Jesus came to turn losers into winners. You are a child of the King, a unique one-of-a-kind miracle, and you were created to play a critical role in the big story of God.
Years ago, there was a kid who got off to a pretty bad start. At age seven he and his parents were forced out of their home. His mother died when he was nine. As a result, he never finished grade school, let alone high school or college. At twenty-three he tried to start a business, but it failed. He then tried politics, running for an office in his state and lost. Then he lost his job. He wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in. At twenty-four he borrowed money to start another business, but it failed, too, and he spent the next seventeen years trying to pay off the debt. At twenty-six he got engaged, but his fiancée died before the wedding. At twenty-seven he had a total nervous breakdown and spent six months in bed. Talk about a loser! This guy should have quit right there.
At twenty-nine he tried politics again, running for his state legislature; he lost again. Two years later he tried again and lost. Three years later he ran for Congress. You’ve got it: he lost again. At age thirty-seven he ran for Congress again and actually won, but two years later when he ran for reelection he was, of course, defeated. Giving up on national politics for the time being, he sought a more humble job as a land officer in his home state, but he was rejected. He then had the bad judgment to run for the US Senate twice (he lost both times) and then sought to be his party’s nominee for vice president and failed again.
The remarkable thing about our “loser” is that he never gave in to that inner voice telling him he was a nobody. He was a man of faith, and he knew that God doesn’t make losers. When he was fifty-one, after a lifetime of failure and loss, he had the audacity to run for president of the United States. Maybe he is better known to you as Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth and perhaps the greatest US president ever to serve our country. Lincoln ended slavery, led the nation through the Civil War, and preserved the union of the United States. And he paid the ultimate price for his service when he was shot and killed on April 14, 1865.
Changing the world for Christ isn’t easy, and there is always a price to pay. Abraham Lincoln was a follower of Jesus Christ, a child of the King, and he believed against all odds that there was a role for him to play in God’s big story. You, too, are a child of the King, a unique one-of-a-kind miracle, and you were created to play a critical role in the big story of God.
What is holding you back from following Christ with your whole life and heart? What are you going to do next?
Father, thank you for loving me enough to make me, to call me, to pursue me, and to use me. Please don’t let me rest until I am exactly where you want me.
Unfinished: Believing is Only the Beginning. Copyright © 2013 by World Vision.