There are a lot of great characters in Bible, Noah, Abraham, Moses, King David, Simon Peter, Paul and so many more. All of these were great people, all most all performed marvelous miracles, rescued the Israelis, healed the sick, confronted the evil ones. Reading about their feats and doings makes us feel that these people were endowed with extraordinary powers, full of superhuman strength and will, they were like the super heroes of old.
I am such an ordinary person, for me to read such fantastic stories in the bible means only to marvel at the things that happened in the past and convince myself that all these are the works of the extra-ordinaries, the ones who are cut above the others, with special supernatural powers. But that is what I thought in the past, and I was so wrong.
When I really sat down one day with The Bible, to again read about the great deeds of the great men(and women like Ruth and Esther, not to forget our Beloved Virgin Mary), I found a pattern in these stories, a strange pattern indeed.
Noah - A righteous man, was an ordinary citizen, not a judge, nor a king, nor a rich man living in a big house, just a common man doing common things, until one day when God calls for him, gives him a command (a ridiculous one at that, how many of you would build a boat on the land?), but Noah did it.(Gen 6:22) Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he. We know the rest. Noah ended up being one of the few people alive after the great deluge!
Abraham - The father of our Religion. Actually the father of the three major religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Abraham, who once was Abram, was again no one important in particular, just a regular guy living with his family. And what did God ask of him? Abram leave your land, your father's family, move out to a place I show. If God asked the same of me, I am pretty sure I'd say, 'You are kidding me, right! There is no way I am doing this God.' Well, God did promise Abram that He would make a great nation out of him, but seriously which one of you would move out of the comforts of your home to an unknown place even if the promises are big, oh, and God did not say He would be paying the traveling cost! But Abraham had to do what God asked him to. (Gen 12:4) So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. Wow! Abraham was 75! And I am not ready to do it even at a way more younger age. This dude's got guts! So father Abraham leaves and goes through a lot of unknown countries, lands into trouble a few times, and so on, but does end up being a great nation and father of a lots of people!
Moses - Prince of Egypt. How many of us have had the first journey of our lives, floating in a basket over Nile! A Hebrew child escapes death, is raised up among the royals and practically has lead a really good life in the palace. You'd say he is lucky, he got it easy. Think again. He was a murderer. Despised by his own people, exiled and made into a laborer. God made a wonderful and a little ironic demand from him, go save the people of Israel from the clutches of Egyptians. Yeah right, like I can just walk into the land and bring them out, also these people hate me, come on God why are you trying to get me killed? That would certainly have been my response. Moses was not up for it either. He argued in every rational way possible. What name should I give to people - Say that I AM WHAT I AM, they will never believe I came with God's message - Show them these miracles, I am not a good speaker - I am giving you speech, No I am not doing it - I am GOD, THE GOD, I can do everything, I am with you always, I will directly feed words into your mouth, Nope, I am NOT going to talk to the pharaoh or the people, give me some else to speak - Alright take Aaron with you., he will do the talking fine! When he finally does arrive into the land and meets the Pharaoh, we know that he does a marvelous job and takes the Israelis out from right under the nose of the Pharaoh, causes a great damage to the Egyptians, brings a big number of people to the Promised Land, on the way gets the 10 Commandments and really becomes a great hero.But he does all this only after saying yes to the seemingly impossible plan of God.
David - The shepherd boy, the King. The youngest in his family, only took care of dumb sheep, before killing the giant, Goliath, David expelled the evil spirit which was upon Saul(for more details read 1Samuel 16), a small young boy, with not much skills in weaponry then kills a giant, there was something about him, he pitched himself against the giant, and what a faith he had! 1 Samuel 17:37 David said, ‘The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine.’ We know he was crowned the king, and he fell later into sin, but we also know, he rose again, he repented. David was a great musician and singer too, and he dedicated his skills to glorify the Lord. From Shepherd Boy to King to being the forefather of Jesus, this man had a great journey.
Simon Peter - A middle aged fisher man. Unlearned, simple, poor, ordinary man, who made a living by catching fish. And now he holds the Keys to Heaven. He fell on many occasions, but was ardent in his faith, when Jesus asked him to follow, he left everything and went with him. Did you notice that Peter left everything, right after he got the biggest catch of his life? With the amount of fish he had caught, he would have been a rich man in no time. Yet, he left it all, and ran behind the Son of Man. Ask yourself, will you leave your 5 figure salary job that you just got to follow Christ? A great disciple, martyred for Christ, he is a perfect example of human failures and God's divine love. A great leader, could make a lot of people follow him, performed miracles and gave great teachings. A fisher man who was a nobody become a great historic figure.
Paul - What can I say about him, great man, learned, with a lot of power and political connections, a great Jew, and a great persecutor of the followers of Christ. This man when he heard the voice of Jesus, and afterwords miraculously regained his eyesight started following Christ immediately. He, of all the people knew the most about the persecutions that would follow, for he himself was once the persecutor. He knew how the followers of Christ were ill treated, massacred, tortured, treated like animals, he had seen the worst, he knew that following this group would lead to a life of torture and pain and ultimately an immature death. Yet he knew in his heart, who the Living God was, having encountered Him personally. He followed Christ, through all trials and tribulations and strengthened others to do the same. He knew Christ was worth dying for.
Jesus - Man and God. Born in a manger, lived as a carpenter, died as a criminal. Nothing I can say about this wonderful man and almighty God, will be enough to justify the true character of Christ. Humble, meek, calm, merciful yet firm and rooted. We know He carried no money, did not have a stable address, no lasting shelter, no food stored in barns. And we also know He lived a lot more fruitful life than the whole of humanity put together. He obeyed God the Father, obeyed even to dead, and not just any dead, the most defiled and embarrassing death of that time.
What is common between all these men?
They all had humble beginnings, even Jesus, they all were common people leading common life, but when God picked them for His work, they gave themselves up for the cause. The only thing extraordinary about this people was that they had extraordinary FAITH and extraordinary OBEDIENCE.
We do not have to be bible scholars, we don't have to be fluent in English, we need not be great achievers, we do not need to be rich or handsome or charming or intelligent. We just need to believe in God's power and obey His command (however stupid or unconventional it may sound at first). We need to listen to what God has to say to us, and give up our lives for His cause. Once you give yourself to Him, He will take care of everything.
And so my prayer for today is,
Living God, grant me a heart that desires Your Will continuously, give me the strength to follow You to the ends of the Earth, grant me the Spirit to accept even the most unusual plan that You have laid out for me, give me the courage to face the ridicule for being a disciple. Make my life an instrument for the coming of Your Kingdom. Give me the will to obey You under all circumstances, without questioning.