Thursday, July 28, 2011


I am not a big NASCAR fan but I am always amazed at how fast they can change four tires, fill the tank with gas, wash the windshield and give the driver a drink. On a good day they can do it in under 15 seconds. It takes me longer than that just to find my spare tire! One of the keys to their speed is that each crew member has a specially designed tool that they use to get the job done. The jack man has a custom, lightweight jack that can get the car off the ground in one pump of the handle. The tire changer has an air gun that is made for speed. The gas man has a specially designed tank that can quickly put 18 gallons of fuel in the car.

The tools themselves cannot do the work. The jack cannot slide itself under the car, the air gun cannot find the lug nuts on its own and the gas can will simply stay leaning up against the wall until someone puts it to use.

I say this because I am teaching through the book of Jonah and came across the following passage last week:
Jonah 3: 1-4 - 1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” 3 Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days. 4 On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.”
What does this passage have to do with tools you ask. Look at Jonah's message that he preached to the great city of Nineveh "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” Imagine if you went to church this Sunday and the pastor stood up and said "Forty more days and Charlotte will be overturned.” or "Forty more days and Las Vegas will be overturned.” or "Forty more days and Atlanta will be overturned.” and then said "You are dismissed." What would you do? Would you look at the person next to you and say "He did not give a benediction!" Would you think to yourself "Heck, we finished before the restaurants opened, now what am I going to do?" If the pastor were a tool in the hands of God and this is what God told him to say you would do the same thing the Ninevites did:
Jonah 3: 5-10 5 The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.6 When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh:

“By the decree of the king and his nobles:

Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
As I read God's word I cannot help but see that the great men of the Bible were not great because of who they were, they were great because they did what God told them to do, they allowed Him to use them the way he saw fit. The Ninevites turned from their evil ways not because Jonah was a fantastic preacher but because he obeyed God and said what God wanted him to say.

God will accomplish His will with or without us. What an awesome thing to realize that He will allow us to be a part of what he is doing. Just before Christ ascended into heaven he said:
Matthew28: 18 - 20 - 8 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We are the tools God has chosen to use, he specifically designed us for the task he has called us to. Are you willing to obey and be used by the Master?

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