The Kingdom of God and Surprising Reversals (Guinness)

Thankfully, God in his sovereignty often uses average – or even less than average(!) – people to carry out his grand purposes.

“We know all that, we respect all that, and we take it seriously – and yet, and yet.  So we are also always ready for the surprising voice, the far-from-obvious leader, the last-person-you-would-ever-think would be the key player.  And yes, we are always ready to recognize God’s nobodies and God’s fools.  For these may be the truly anointed ones prepared to be seen and treated as nobodies and fools for Christ’s sake, whom God uses far more than we who are the obvious ones for God to use.”

 

I always appreciate Os Guinness’ insights and comments on Christianity and culture.  In one part of his book Renaissance Guinness discusses some aspects of the kingdom of God.  One of those aspects he calls “surprising reversals.”  By this, he means that “God’s ways are not our ways, and his wisdom is so far above ours as to be a mystery” that surpasses our finite minds.  Guinness then notes from Scripture the various surprising ways that God carries out his plan and purpose (e.g. Moses, Samuel, David, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, and of course Jesus’ death on the cross).  The first are last, the last are first; the humble are exalted, the exalted are humbled, etc.  Here’s how Guinness ends this section, applying this truth to the Christian life:

“…Yes, we strive for excellence.  We know that nothing less than our best is worthy of our Lord.  Our concern is always to achieve our utmost for his highest.  We know that leaders have more influence than followers, that the center of a culture has an influence that far outweighs the periphery, that kings outweigh commoners, that the rich can get far more done than the poor, and that the well-educated know far more than the average person.”

“We know all that, we respect all that, and we take it seriously – and yet, and yet.  So we are also always ready for the surprising voice, the far-from-obvious leader, the last-person-you-would-ever-think would be the key player.  And yes, we are always ready to recognize God’s nobodies and God’s fools.  For these may be the truly anointed ones prepared to be seen and treated as nobodies and fools for Christ’s sake, whom God uses far more than we who are the obvious ones for God to use.”

Or, like James says, “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith…? (NIV).”  Or Paul: “God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor. 1:27 NIV).  Thankfully, God in his sovereignty often uses average – or even less than average(!) – people to carry out his grand purposes.  This is the surprising reversal of the kingdom!

The above quotes are found in Guinness’ book, Renaissance, p. 107.

Rev. Shane Lems is a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and serves as pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Hammond, Wis. This article appeared on his blog and is used with permission.