Unexpected Use

Luke 2 records a fascinating scene housed within the story of the birth of Christ. After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, an angel of the Lord stood before a group of shepherds in the fields and announced to them that earlier that day, not far from where they were tending their flocks, the Savior of the world had been born. They were the first ones to whom the news that would change the very foundation of history was told.

Why is this a fascinating story? It's notable because shepherds weren't considered very highly in that day. Their job of tending sheep was akin to cleaning toilets or shoveling animal poo. There weren't many kids that, when asked in class at school what they wanted to be when they grew us, beamed proudly "I want to be a shepherd!" But in spite of their socially stigmatized profession, the God of the universe sent His angel first and foremost to them to tell them that hope had entered the world.

Their response was to go straight to Bethlehem to see for themselves what the Lord had just announced to them. And when they saw Jesus in the manger, they hurriedly went and told anyone who would listen that the Messiah was born. Then they returned to Jesus' side and worshiped God for all they had seen and heard.

Why didn't God send His angel to a religious or a political leader, someone with clout and believability? Why did He choose a couple of scraggly shepherds who spent most their time out in the fields with dumb animals? Perhaps the reason God chose to announce to these men the birth of the Messiah is because He is in the business of acting and using people in ways that we can never expect or predict.

No one would have assumed that God would have announced this incredible news this way, but He did. And another amazing aspect of this story is that when the shepherds went into the town to announce what they had seen and heard, the people believed them. An unlikely source delivers an unbelievable message.

Who says that God only works and speaks through pastors and church leaders and "important" people? That may be the image we've crafted out for ourselves today, but believing that only limits what God wants to do through those of us who are average. Don't be so sure that God won't use you to deliver an incredible message or craft a life changing ministry for His glory.

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