When we think of an ambassador, we typically imagine someone that we deem as highly qualified for the position. Most ambassadors in our day are highly educated, socially adept, and come from positions of power and authority. Only the best should represent a head of state and speak on his or her behalf.
However, who is “best” in God’s eyes does not always match the world’s opinion. In God’s providence, the first human ambassadors to proclaim the good news of Christ’s birth were a group of simple shepherds.
“Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds” (Luke 2:17–18).
Shepherds were not educated in speech, were far from experts in Old Testament prophecy, or mighty in the world’s eyes. They were among the least likely messengers God could have chosen.
However, the fact that the Lord used them to convey the message fits with God’s character and ways found throughout scripture. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:27:
“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.”
God established a track record in the Old Testament of using the least likely people to carry his message and accomplish His purposes. Joseph was a slave and a prisoner. Abraham was old. Moses was a shepherd and is believed to have stuttered. Ruth was a refugee and her direct descendant, David, was a shepherd. Elisha was a farmer, and Amos, a fig-picker.
Jesus continued selecting the “least likely” to be His messengers in the New Testament. The disciples were ordinary people with ordinary professions, including fishermen and tax collectors. Yet God used them mightily to proclaim the gospel:
“Now when they [the religious leaders] saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
God’s track record of choosing and using ordinary people should bring us great comfort. Our success in sharing the gospel does not depend on our ability, but our obedience; not our eloquence but our faithfulness; not our position in society, but our position in Christ. He uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary.
This Christmas, thank God that He has chosen you to be His messenger, and carry His message to as many as will hear.
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