God Has a Habit of Calling the Unlikeliest People

Dear future congregation,

While I haven’t met you yet, and I imagine we don’t share the same beliefs, I just want to say that I am excited to serve you in the future.

With today being the fifth Sunday of Epiphany, we are covering four scriptures: 

  • Isaiah 6:1-8, (9-13)
  • Psalm 138
  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
  • Luke 5:1-11

In Isaiah 6, we meet Isaiah being caught up in a vision.  He fears greatly, because he has seen the Lord with “unclean lips.”  By this, he means he is a sinner.  

In Luke 5, Simon declares “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” when Jesus causes a miracle to happen at the Sea of Galilee, with loads of fishes.

In 1 Cor. 15, Paul considers himself the least of all apostles, because had had persecuted the early church of God.  He considered himself too sinful to lead Christ’s people.

Do you see a connection?  Do you see a connection within this church, within yourselves?  Have you ever considered yourself “too sinful” to be called by God?

I know I have.  Before I discovered grace, I thought I was too sinful to be a Christian.  Surely, I failed God everyday.  Every day I forsake salvation by my sins.  Everyday I committed myself to Hell.

Truth be told, folks, we’re saved by grace.

Nothing in highest heaven, lowest hell, widest earth, and deepest space can separate us from God’s love.  When we entered those waters of baptism and were immersed in Christ’s love, we were saved.  Past, present, future sins forgiven – not because we were righteous, but because Christ died for us on that cross.  As we look forward to the season of Lent and Easter, let us meditate on our forgiveness and bask in the glory of the resurrected Lord.

But let us not stay in this meditation.  Let us go forth, as Jesus called Peter, “to become fishers of people.”  Let us carry this meditation in our hearts as we reach the world out in love, peace, and liberation as we preach the gospel.  But what does this preaching look like?  How is it done?

In Psalm 138, God is considered majestic, holy, exalted.  But he considered the lowly, those in the midst of trouble, those troubled with foes.  The Bible is clear: Although we are citizens of Heaven, we should make a home with the lowliest because they first will be last, and the last will be first.  

Preaching looks like reaching out to the old lady who is lonely, and wants company as she watches the news.  Preaching and spreading the Gospel looks like helping homeless vets, drug addicts, children, women, literally everyone.  It means giving away perishables.  LORD, you know what I’m talking about!  It’s the same thing I will preach every day, and I never tire of preaching this: The Leader is the Servant.  The Least is the Greatest.  The Weak are God’s People.  Those struggling with rent or the electricity bill are God’s angels.  

When we become children of God, we become servants of Christ.  We are not raised on a pedestal, but lowered on a humble chair as we serve our Master.  As we serve His People.  If you think you’re something special when you become a Christian – think again.

As we look forward to celebrating Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, let us remember who he reached out to during his ministry.  The poor, the disabled, the sinners.  He even said that he did not come to call the righteous, but the sinners unto repentance and healing.  He came to reach out to heal, to help, to humbly raise the lowliest to the greatest heights. 

I hope you do the same.  

God has a habit of calling the unlikeliest people – sinners saved by grace. “I am what I am” and grace is grace. Now let us carry that love God gave us at baptism and give it to the world.

Alleluia and Amen.