Exceptional people

Exceptional people

It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. – 1 Timothy 1:15

1 Timothy 1:12-16

 12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him,

 13 even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief.

 14 Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.

 15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” – and I am the worst of them all.

 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.

The now well-known and well-used phrase that David Halberstam made popular, “The Best and The Brightest” was the title of his 1972 book. The Best and The Brightest is an exceptional, in-depth review of the major players in the Administrations of Kennedy and Johnson. The Best and The Brightest does a great job of describing the attitudes and propensities of these individuals that led up to the Vietnam war and plunged the United States into it.

Halberstam relates how the outlook and upbringing of these American leaders eventuated in the US participation in the Vietnam War. Halberstam reveals their backstories. What that these people have in common? What drove them?

Halberstam describes them as “men that never failed.” They jumped from major success to major success. Their achievements shaped their mindset and outlook. Because of their success, they could not comprehend that their Vietnam policies were not working. Moreover, because they had been so much more successful than the average American, they felt no need to keep the average American in the loop. Their hubris led to the government secrecy and failed policies for which the Vietnam War is now known.

The “Dream Team” assembled by Kennedy and described by Halberstam was one of the best groups of high-level advisers that an American president has had. Nevertheless, they utterly failed to manage a war against a third-world state (genzconservative.com).

Regarding a similar group of individuals with remarkable ability and aptitude, John F. Kennedy once quipped at a dinner honoring Nobel Prize winners, “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

On planet Earth, there many times and places where the “best and brightest” get ahead and become successful. It is a natural pattern in the world. But in the Father’s kingdom, this is not so. The Father often selects very difficult, rebellious, defiant, and self-willed people to serve Him. He uses ordinary, flawed raw material to create delightful, devoted instruments who wish only to serve Him.

Consider John the apostle. In the Gospels, he and his brother James are referred to as the sons of thunder (Mark 3:17). They were rather demanding, fiery, angry, and vengeful men. When it came to love and compassion, they were more than a few bricks short of a full load. Their solution to a problem was markedly harsh, violent, and blunt.

Luke 9:54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and burned them up?”

But after a lifetime of walking with the Lord, John the apostle came to be called the Apostle of Love. This is a remarkable transformation for an exceptional person, exceptionally angry that is.

Paul the apostle was also unique. He referred to himself as the “chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:12 – KJV). He was exceptional when it came to being a blasphemer, persecutor, and outrageously offensive, ruthless opponent. Before his conversion, he ravaged the church, entered house after house, and dragged off men and women, and put them in prison (Acts 8:3).

Unlike John, Paul’s transformation was remarkably abrupt. He had a very close encounter of the third kind with the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. He was never the same again.

The Father uses exceptional people. Many are exceptionally bad people. Others are exceptionally ordinary people.

1 Corinthians 1:27-28

 27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.

 28 God chose things despised by the world,1 things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.

REFLECT & PRAY

What kind of people does the Father choose? Exceptional people, that is people who are exceptionally ordinary or perhaps exceptionally awful. The Father demonstrates His perfect kindness, love, mercy, and grace. He is awesome and amazing.

Father as I ponder my life and recognize my inner, hidden life and insecure, ugly, vengeful thoughts, I can hardly imagine how You could possibly choose me to serve You. I stand in awe. Thank You for Your perfect patience.

INSIGHT

John was transformed from an angry son of thunder to the gentle, kind “Apostle of Love.” This occurred because of a lifetime of getting to know and walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.

“The grace of God turned the persecutor into a preacher, and the murderer into a minister and a missionary! So dramatic was the change in Paul’s life that the Jerusalem church suspected that it was a trick, and they had a hard time accepting him (Acts 9:26-31)” (Wiersbe).

“No one persecuted the early Christian church more zealously than did Saul, and no one preached forgiveness more than Paul” (Stanley).

When we consider John and Paul, it is blatantly obvious that their salvation and selection for service by the Father was totally undeserved and unmerited. The Father demonstrates remarkable grace, mercy, and kindness. He does so for every child of the King.

1 Timothy 1:15-16

 15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” – and I am the worst of them all.

 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.

Many children of the King often think they are the worst sinner that ever lived. Not! They cannot hold a candle to the apostle Paul.

¯\_()_/¯

2 thoughts on “Exceptional people

  1. What exceptional comfort, hope, and gratitude in the heart of this exceptionally ordinary daughter of the Father!

    Like

  2. Your comment is so appreciated. Ordinary people are exceptional!
    Your thoughts inspired an upcoming reflection: His masterpiece.

    Like

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