“Moses spent his first forty years thinking he was somebody. He spent his second forty years learning he was a nobody. He spent his third forty years discovering what God can do with a nobody.”
When I read about the great heroes of the faith, I am impressed to see that all of them thought themselves to be “nobodies.” In fact, in some cases, they spend a good deal of time learning how little they are before they are used of God in any significant way. I think of the example in the quote above, but also of David, tending those sheep in the wilderness. Abraham lived in the desert when God called him and travelled a great distance before he came to the place of God’s blessing. The entire nation of Israel (after they left Egyptian slavery) spent 40 years in the desert learning the lesson that God was the one who was in charge and who had everything figured out. Over and over again, we see people spending time learning they are nothing.
Should we be surprised that the New Testament rings with the same theme? As Paul (who spent several years in the desert of Arabia before his public ministry) talks to the Corinthians in his first letter to them, he makes the statement that neither he nor Apollos are anything but a planter and a waterer. “God is the one who gives the increase.” His second letter to them is the one where we get the familiar picture of clay pots (4:7). We have an amazing treasure in us (the gospel of God’s love), but we are just there to transport this treasure. We are the earthenware vessel in which the treasure is carried.
The reason for all of this is emphasized in 1 Corinthians 1. God chooses people who are nobodies for two reasons: First, so that nobody will boast in the presence of God (we won’t take credit), and second, so that people have something more than our wisdom to depend on when things get tough…they have the power of God.
On days that you feel like you are a nobody…take a few minutes to be thankful. God uses people like that in the best way possible. It’s not because we are skilled or capable or diligent or creative or whatever other trait people like to see in us. It’s because God is gracious and powerful that He uses us to do great things for His glory.
I hope that encourages your heart. You don’t have to be somebody…you have to be faithful to the one who uses nobodies for His glory!