17. God uses influential people too

I have discussed in my previous devotion that the Lord uses anyone He pleases. I have discussed how He uses ordinary people as well as people who committed some or other 'big' sin. But of course the Lord uses influential, important people as well. There are a couple of examples, but I will quickly pause at three.

One of the most influential, mightiest people of his time was Solomon. He was the son of David and a mighty king. His father had defeated most of their enemies and they had peace during the reign of Solomon. The Lord was pleased with Solomon, as Solomon loved the Lord. The Lord appeared to him in a dream and asked him what he wanted. He could have anything his heart desires. And the Lord was very pleased with his answer when he asked for wisdom. And because he asked for wisdom, the Lord replied:

1 Kings 3:12-14 "I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding mind such as no one has ever had or ever will have! And I will also give you what you didn't ask for - riches and honor! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! And if you follow Me and obey My commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life."

The Lord blessed him beyond measure and used him to write down his wisdom in order to preserve it until today where we all can read it and apply it to our lives. We all can benefit from the wisdom that God bestowed on Solomon. The Lord used a mighty king to further His Kingdom.

Another up and coming person was Paul. He was a young member of the Pharisees. He was well educated and a student of the well known Gamaliel. He received the finest education available at that time. Just to be one of the scholars of Gamaliel, was considered to be quite an honor. Paul was therefore on his way to become one of the top religious leaders of the time. He would have had status and be honored wherever he went. He could have made it to the top of the religious ladder. But then Jesus called him to follow Him. At first it would seem like a downgrade of his social status. Immediately his life was in danger as the Jewish leaders, his own friends at that time, decided to kill him. The future he would face was one of turmoil and danger. He would be stoned, beaten, imprisoned, left for dead numerous times, homeless, the list goes on and on. But at the end of the day he was the person, besides Jesus, that shaped the history of Christianity. He spread the gospel and he fearlessly preached to the Jews and Gentiles alike. He didn't look at the status that he might lose by following Jesus, no, he looked up to God and realized that following Jesus was more important than anything else. And today he is one of the most famous Christian leaders of all time and the Lord honored him.

Another example is Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus who were both members of the Jewish High Council. Joseph especially was a leader and an honored member of the High Council. They were both therefore important men of the time and highly regarded. But the Lord used them. He used them to prepare His Son for burial. Joseph came and asked Pilate's permission to take Jesus' body down from the cross and together with Nicodemus, who brought seventy-five pounds of embalming ointment, they wrapped Him in a long linen cloth and placed Him in a new tomb in a garden close by. The Lord therefore used these two important men to give His Son a dignified burial. They were open to the Lord's call and they were granted the honor of caring for the human body of the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. They didn't count the loss they might experience due to this act, they looked up to the Lord and did what was right. They most probably lost their important positions in the Jewish High Council, but we can know today that the Lord honored their selfless act of kindness and they received their treasures in heaven.

So if you have an important position today. It you have a bright future ahead of you, don't look at the prestige or wealth that you can lose by following Jesus, look at the Kingdom that you can gain by following Him. I am not saying quit your job or don't use your qualifications for good. No, I am saying listen to the Voice of the Lord. He is calling you and wants to use you. It might be right where you are, He might use you as the best surgeon in the country, He might use you to be an honest lawyer, He might use your athletic ability to minister to thousands of people, He might use you as a religious CEO of a big company conducting business in a godly manner. Whatever it may be, let the Lord guide and use you. It would be worth it! As our Lord Jesus Himself said:

Matthew 19:29 "And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for My sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will have eternal life."

Lord Jesus, please help us not to count the cost of following You. Let us rather look up to You and know that we can gain so much love and joy if You are the centre of our world. Amen



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