There is a lot of talk these days about inequality and the need for more fairness and equality. People often get the idea that their worth or value is based on their salary, possessions, title or position in an organization or society. However, God’s Kingdom principles are very different. Some of the most notable, high profile, and esteemed individuals in modern society may not be making a positive impact on the world, or for the Kingdom of God. Perhaps the greatest rewards in heaven will be received by the least known and most unlikely individuals here on earth.
Equal Opportunity Employer
Over the years of conducting Orality Training in various parts of the world, we have observed how some of the least educated and less privileged people become fruitful and productive followers of Jesus and agents of change. While there is an amazing among of inequality in the world today, it is comforting to realize that God is an equal opportunity employer. God is no respecter of persons, and He is willing to use anyone who comes to Him, believes and trusts Him. In fact, Jesus has promised that those who come to Him and believe in Him, out of their hearts, (innermost beings) will flow rivers of Living Water. Of course, He is referring to the work of the Holy Spirit and His redemptive activity.
Anomalies in the Church
Throughout biblical and church history, we see how God has often used the weak, the flawed and the lowly for His Kingdom purposes. Samuel Chadwick, late principal of Cliff College in England, has said, “It is this mystery that has filled the history of the Church with anomalies. Inadequate men (and women) are always doing impossible things, and ordinary men achieve extraordinary results. God’s biggest things seem to be done by the most unlikely people.” Over the past decade with Living Water International’s Orality Training programs, we have observed how men, women and children with very little formal education have a passion for the Lord and a desire for sharing Him with others. When people hear, comprehend and act on the truth of the Word of God, lives are transformed. There tends to be a ripple effect and multiplying impact. These are sometimes in places where people don’t have enough of anything. Even today there are millions of people on the planet without access to clean water, sanitation, hygiene and without access to the gospel. These are the neediest people on earth, both physically and spiritually.
God’s Hall of Faith
While getting as much education as we can is important, it is liberating to realize that God often uses common, ordinary people with little formal education in great ways. In 1974, in Memphis, Tennessee, I heard the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, preach a message titled, “God’s Hall of Faith.” He pointed out that throughout history, those who were greatly used of God were not necessarily the most educated, but were quite ordinary, and sometimes seemingly disadvantaged. In that message, Dr. Rogers used an example of how a seemingly obscure businessman more than 150 years ago lead a boy to the Lord. That boy eventually became a world-renowned evangelist. He then traced the chain of relationships and connections that resulted in a number of renowned world leaders who have had significant impact up until today.
On a return visit to a West African country where we had conducted Orality Training a few years earlier, we heard many reports and testimonies from those who had participated. Those trained were now training others. It was a confirmation of the reproducibility of the training and practices. However, it was a testimony also of the reproducing life of Jesus Christ in and through common, ordinary people. What a joy to know that we all can be containers of Christ and communicate the truth about Him to those around us. Those simple, biblical methods and practices we learn from and see modeled in Jesus enable us to be fruitful and multiply.
Relationship and Availability
Another important lesson I learned from Adrian Rogers was, “God is not as concerned about our scholarship, as He is about our relationship, and it’s not so much about our ability, as it is about our availability.” One of the amazing benefits we are seeing in the Orality Movement is a demonstration of the power of simplicity and reproducibility. It is a matter of returning to the roots of the Church and the Kingdom principles we learn from the life, Spirit and teachings of Jesus. When we think of movements that have had significant impact throughout history, we realize the power of small, simple, reproducible systems and structures. These features have been part of revolutionary change and transformational movements.
Worth and Value in the Kingdom
Important topics addressed in our Orality Training are worth and value in the Kingdom of God, and who He chooses to use to advance His purposes. When learning a set of stories from the Word of God, we observe how Jesus reached out and related to various classes of people. In the training sessions, the following questions always bring out engaging conversations and valuable insights:
* Are women important to God?
* Do children have value to Him?
* Are demon-possessed people important?
* Are blind or crippled people important to the Lord?
* Who has value in advancing the Kingdom of God?
Learning the right stories and asking the appropriate questions provide an amazing amount of spiritual truth and application. One of the keys is the pre- and post-story discussion and dialogue. Individuals come to the conclusion that all people are important to God, that all people have value and worth in the Kingdom of God. There is the recognition that our worth and value is not based on our performance, our ability, or position in life. Our true value, from God’s perspective, is based on the price that was paid for us, the very life of the Lord Jesus. That means we are all very important persons (VIPs) in God’s sight.
Agents of Change and Transformation
Therefore, we all have the capacity to be agents of change and transformation, not because of what we can do on our own, but because we are indwelt by Christ Himself and empowered by the Holy Spirit. For those of us who are privileged to have Scripture in our heart language and the ability to read it with comprehension, certainly we should read it, reflect upon it, meditate and apply it to our lives. Yet today, the majority of the people in the world do not have that opportunity. Most people, in the global context, are coming to the Lord by hearing the Good News of Jesus, and then passing it on in the same way. These are indeed the most exciting times to be a part of God’s redemptive activity and be on mission with Him.
Jerry Wiles is President Emeritus of Living Water International and serves on the advisory council and leadership team of the International Orality Network. He can be reached at: [email protected].