Who Does God Call and Use?

By Dr. Ken Matto

(1 Cor 1:26 KJV) For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

It seems one thing which hamstrings Christians from getting involved in ministry is the idea that one must be called into the ministry in an official capacity. Too many believe that they must hold an official title in a church to do any kind of efficient ministry or they must be seminary trained. This is the farthest from the truth. When God saves a person, they are automatically placed into the ministry. Of course, there is a time for study and preparation for ministry. Now this article is not about being called into a specific ministry such as preaching or teaching but is about being called into the ministry in a general way. What I mean by that is that the majority of Christians in this world are never moved out of their vocations and into specific ministry. For example, a person who is a Chemist becomes saved and they never leave the business world to go out into the world in an official ministry capacity such as missionary or pastor.

If they remain in the business world, are they to be any less effective as Christians? The answer is no. Another great mistake is dividing their lives into two parts: The secular and the sacred. They view the secular as their job and the other parts of their life which are not “officially religious.” Then they view the sacred part as doing ministry such as going to church on Sunday or maybe getting involved with a church function. The reality is that once we become saved, everything in our life goes from the secular to the sacred and that is because we now have the Holy Spirit living within us and we are a child of God. From the point of salvation to our home going, everything we do reflects upon the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father. There is no more secular because we are no longer secular. (Eph 1:13-14 KJV) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, {14} Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. According to the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary, “secular” means “pertaining to this world or things not spiritual or holy.” (1 Pet 1:16 KJV) Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. When we became saved, we became holy and therefore everything we do has eternal results. (Eph 1:4 KJV) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

What I would like to do is to take a number of examples from the Scriptures of people whom God used in positions other than officially religious ones and how they impacted their particular time. These will be both from the Old and New Testaments because both are relevant.

AMOS - He was a herdsman and never rose to the status of prophet like Isaiah or Jeremiah and was never in the order or school of the prophets. He was called to prophesy in the days of Uzziah and Jeroboam. He was the first prophet to prophesy the captivity of Judah which was about 200 years in the future. (Amos 7:14 KJV) Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit:

EBEDMELECH - He was an Ethiopian eunuch in the house of Zedekiah. He became a friend to Jeremiah and helped deliver him from prison after the king allowed him to be subject to his counselors. He was never elevated to a high position but God promised him that he would be safe from the enemies. (Jer 39:16 KJV) Go and speak to Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished in that day before thee.

DANIEL - He went from being a captive in Babylon to the third highest ruler in the kingdom because God gave him the ministry of interpreting dreams. He wrote the book of Daniel as a political ruler and not as an official prophet because not to much is known of his early life. We do know that when he was brought to Babylon, he had much wisdom and knowledge on many different subjects. (Dan 1:4-6 KJV) Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. {5} And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. {6} Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:

LUKE - Luke was a physician and penned the books of Luke and Acts under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. His name is mentioned only twice in the New Testament and not even by himself, yet he was used of God to pen two of the largest books in the New Testament. (Col 4:14 KJV) Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. (2 Tim 4:11 KJV) Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

JOB - Job was called of God to be a testimony for God in times of calamity. Although Job did not know it, he became a testimony of the faithfulness of God to Satan and to his friends. He showed that when someone is truly born again they will never lose their true testimony because of external calamities. After God had restored Job, it seems he remained as he did before his trial and that is a farmer and business man. (Job 42:16 KJV) After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations. (Job 42:12 KJV) So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. Job’s faithfulness to God has caused him to be a household word when linked with the word “patience.”

JOEL - Nothing is known of him outside of verse 1. (Joel 1:1 KJV) The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel. No one knows who Pethuel is and nothing is written about the early years of the prophet Joel, yet God used him to pen a very important prophetic book which foretells the day of Pentecost. Here is truly someone who is known but to God yet used mightily of God.

OBADIAH - Here is another mystery. He penned the book of Obadiah but not a thing is known about him, whether he was a prophet, priest, king, or laborer. We don’t even have his genealogy, yet God called him to pen the book carrying his name.

JOSEPH - Joseph was the second youngest of Jacob behind Benjamin. He was mistreated by his brothers, sold into slavery, and for thirteen years was made a slave and prisoner. Then one day he interprets two dreams and they both come true. Then Pharaoh has a dream which none of his wise men can interpret and Joseph is brought up to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. Now here is an important principle that we must glean from this part of the narrative. Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream and is then made Governor of Egypt which is the second highest position in their government. Joseph had no formal schooling, he did not run so much as a village, he spent almost half of his life as a slave and prisoner. What was Joseph’s secret to his success in this matter? Joseph had the wisdom of God and that gave him all he needed to rule and to put into place a system of food growth and collection, and then later distribution. This should be an encouragement to those who have no formal education that if God calls you, He will empower you to perform that duty. Even those with a formal education, without the wisdom of God you will not be able to perform what He asks.

PETER - Here was Peter who was a fisherman by trade and no doubt was probably well known for being a rough guy. Jesus chooses him to be one of His disciples and he then becomes the unofficial spokesman for the apostles. Peter probably just had the basic religious upbringing in the temple and then it was off to work. Peter penned two of the books of the New Testament, 1 and 2 Peter.

ONESIMUS - Onesimus was the slave of Philemon who had run away to Rome where he met the Apostle Paul. Onesimus then became saved and went back to Philemon to continue his duties. In his later years, he became Bishop of Ephesus after Timothy had probably died. Ignatius, in 110 A.D. referred to Bishop Onesimus.

These ten biblical examples will suffice to show us that God calls those who seem to be obscure in the world’s definition. There is no such thing as an obscure Christian in the Kingdom of God. A person who drives a fork lift and has a pack of tracts with him, can have a mighty impact on people. It does not matter what a person does for a living here on earth as long as they are faithful in the work of the Lord. Don’t feel that you have to go to a foreign mission field to be used of God. He planted you right there so you would be used of Him right where you are. If God wants to send you somewhere else, He is more than capable of making that known to you. Until that time, be faithful right where you are and you will not have a disappointing Christian walk.