Can you keep a secret? I learned something not too long ago – I am an idiot. Now before you start sending me emails for being self-deprecating, allow me to clarify. Several weeks ago, I spoke at a ladies event. In my preparation, I discovered the origins of the word idiot, and it has a different connotation than how it’s used today. If we stick with the original meaning of the word, I, Erin Elizabeth Austin, am an idiot.
I’ve always known I’m different from others. Even if I didn’t know, I am constantly reminded of this fact by doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and other people who are chronically ill. Not only is my body weird, but the way I’ve responded to being sick is also rather unique. Not many sick people decide to start a nonprofit, become a writer and speaker, and start a magazine. According to others, that’s not normal, especially when I don’t have a business or English degree.
Maybe that’s why Peter is one of my favorite people in the New Testament. I know most Christians will claim Paul as their favorite biblical character, but I’ve always been able to identify with Peter. He messed up on multiple occasions. He had a big heart and zeal for life, but let’s face it. The guy made a lot of mistakes. Not only that, but he was an uneducated, regular, blue collar man. He was ordinary. There was absolutely nothing special about the guy, and yet he led the way in starting the church. Before Paul came along, Peter was the one God used to bring thousands of people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The same man who denied knowing Jesus on three separate occasions was also the man who preached at Pentecost. Even though he was a royal screw-up, God still used Peter in huge ways.
To me, that’s a big deal. It says God doesn’t judge us according to the world’s standards. He sees beyond our social and economic status. To God, we are more than how the world defines us. We aren’t disabled, broken, poor individuals with nothing to contribute to the world. As long as we are alive, we can make a difference in the lives of others.
The original Greek word used for “untrained” is “idiotes.” Recognize it? For those who don’t, take out the e and you have idiots. Bet you didn’t realize there were idiots in the Bible! I certainly didn’t! Yet the meaning of idiotes is a little different than the English form of idiots. It means “ungifted, unskilled, untrained,” and my personal favorite “ordinary.”
God uses the ordinary! In fact, He specializes in it. He doesn’t care if you didn’t finish high school or even if you have a learning disability. To God, it doesn’t matter if you’re ten-years old or one hundred. Rich or poor, healthy or sick, these are all things that are meaningless in God’s kingdom. The only thing that matters is your heart. If you love God and have a desire to be used by Him, that’s the most important thing. The other things are simply window dressings – meaningless.
So you’re an idiot? Big deal! Your life has value. God can and wants to use you. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if He wants to do big things in your life and through your life. Be proud of who you are. God isn’t ashamed of you, so why should you be?
Today, ask God to use you. Allow Him to show His greatness through your brokenness. He might just use you to change the world.
Will you let Him?
“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:27