Broken Vessels

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  May 11, 2013

             Nobody is truly qualified to meet the standards of service in God’s name. It is a fact of life that many Christians would much rather ignore. Since we are imperfect in so many ways and each of us has our own history of sinful mistakes, we simply do not measure up.

            This reality, however, does put us in really good company. Moses had a speech disorder that made it hard for him to speak in public. In addition, he also had a murder conviction in his past. How would you like him preaching to your congregation?

            David was an adulterer. He used deceit, murder, and abuse of power to cover up his sexual indiscretions. As a result of his sinful behavior, his entire family fell into disarray and became a horror story of murder, rape, and violence. How would you like David as the leader of your congregation?

            Hosea was married to a prostitute. Clearly, with her track record of infidelity and her sinful occupation, any church would be quick to not only judge her, but criticize her husband for making such questionable choices in a bride. How would you like that family in your church?

            Elijah was so burned out on ministry that he was depressed, suicidal, and completely unwilling to be the man God called him to be. He no more cared for the ministry of God than his own life and simply wanted to die in his own self-pity. Would you trust him as your pastor?

            Jacob was a liar who used treachery and deceit to usurp his brother’s birthright. This created a rift in his family that was never fully healed. How would you like him overseeing your church stewardship program?

            Noah was an alcoholic who was prone to fits of rage and questionable sexual ethics. Along his epic journey of faith, he was crippled by doubt, despair, and depression. How would you like him to be in your congregation?

            Peter was a brash, brazen, and hot-tempered loudmouth. He had a reputation for speaking without thinking and flaunting his zealous passions without really taking into consideration the implications of his behavior. How would you like to appoint him to leadership in your church?

            The list could go on. In fact, virtually every person in scripture had some character flaw, some sort of sinful past, or some behavioral defect that genuinely rendered them ineligible to do God’s work. Yet God used them anyway.

            This is no justification for allowing or tolerating sin in the church. Nothing will destroy a congregation faster than sin that is allowed to continue without prayerful and direct challenge. Likewise, churches have a sacred obligation to hold individuals under tight scrutiny for the sinful past of leaders. Simply turning a blind eye to sin is unacceptable!

            The reality is, however, that every Christian is imperfect and has some reason why they fail to live up to the standards of being called a Christian. 2 Corinthians 4 illustrates this spiritual truth in vivid terms. It is not our brokenness that resonates, but the Divine Power of God within us that makes the difference. The power is made real, however, through the fact that we are imperfect. In God’s untouchable wisdom, our brokenness becomes the means by which great things happen.

            When God calls us to spiritual greatness, the most common excuse is, “I’m just not the person that God needs because of my sins, mistakes, or weaknesses.” God says otherwise. If God could make great Biblical leaders out of some of the most despicable sinners in the Bible, there is no stopping what God can make out of you.