SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
Commentary by Walter Albritton
September 30, 2007
God Guides Ordinary People to do His Will in Humble Ways
Key Verse: Then I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to obtain the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. – Genesis 24:48
The God of the Bible is a God who gets very involved in the lives of people. God cares. God calls. God appears. God acts. God works. God speaks. God saves. God guides. And God guides ordinary people, not just special people, to accomplish his purposes in the world. The Bible is full of stories about ordinary people doing what God told them to do. The story of the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah is one of those stories for it is also the story of an ordinary man, Eliezer, who faithfully obeyed God.
This shining truth encourages ordinary people everywhere to believe that God can and will use them to do his will. A few people – like Martin Luther, John Wesley, Albert Schweitzer, and Billy Graham – become famous for serving God. But countless other Christians in every age serve God just as faithfully without becoming renowned persons.
No one has ever summed this up more beautifully than the celebrated Catholic nun Mother Teresa: “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”
In the final analysis that is what serving God is all about – doing little things all our lives, day by day, that can only be explained by the presence of Christ in our hearts – guiding and enabling us to do the will of God. A line from an old song sums it up well: “For not with swords loud clashing, nor roll of stirring drums, with deeds of love and mercy the heavenly kingdom comes” (from the hymn “Lead On, O King Eternal”).
Simple deeds that reflect Christ’s love are the stuff of kingdom living. Extending mercy to someone who is angry over nothing allows God’s will to be done. Solomon explains it this way: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
Offering help to a stranger in need – someone you never expect to see again – can give you a joyous sense of being guided by the indwelling Christ to make a difference with your life. And you care less that your kindness will not make the evening news.
The “preacher” in me compels me to extract these good principles from the story of Eliezer playing Cupid:
1. Eliezer felt needed. Abraham explained that Eliezer’s faithfulness was necessary for the will of God to be fulfilled. What great joy is ours when we truly believe that God wants to use us to carry out his plans.
2. Eliezer followed the plan given him. He did not try to re-invent the wheel. He did not use his own cleverness to amend the plan. We create many of our problems by foolishly insisting on doing what we think best instead of doing what God has said to do.
3. Eliezer prayed for God’s help. He realized that he would be successful only through the kindness of God. So he asked God to guide him to the right woman for Isaac. We should be careful not to let our pride keep us from seeking divine assistance in all things small and great.
4. Eliezer expected God to guide him. He knew that God had guided his master Abraham but he also believed God would direct his steps. As our faith matures we gain more and more confidence in God’s willingness to guide us even though we are but ordinary men and women. Over time our faithfulness in small things gives us the conviction that God uses ordinary people in thousands of ways to accomplish his purposes.
5. Eliezer worshiped the Lord, humbly thanking the Lord for guiding him to complete his assignment. God wants to guide us. He also delights in our giving thanks for his blessings. God loves us and he longs for us to love him. God is not merely a Guide who provides us with road maps. He is a Father who desires intimacy with his children. The more we praise God for his kindness in our lives, the more we sense that he really does inhabit our praise.
We will do well to imitate the attitude of Eliezer in our walk with Christ. We can start by recalling times when God gave us the grace to be faithful in completing assignments he had given us. We can “bow down” as Eliezer did and worship the Lord with thanksgiving.
Then we can ask the Lord to open our eyes to see clearly our current assignment, and to give us grace to complete our mission successfully. We can mull over the fact that we may never be famous, like Isaac and Rebekah, but we can like Eliezer find the grace to complete our mission so that his will may be done “on earth as it is in heaven.” So may we enjoy the blessings of God and become a blessing to others.
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