“He ariseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them.” (1 Sam. 2:8)
From The High Standards of God for End-Times Christians
One of the basic lessons of the life of John the Baptist that applies to all Christians is that the godly life may not always appear to be successful, at times, in the eyes of the world. No one had any idea what John was doing, quietly allowing God to prepare him in the desert for his spectacular upcoming ministry. No one in Canaan knew at the time Abraham showed up that the future “father of faith” had arrived. Joseph appears to be a complete failure in Potiphar’s house and in Pharaoh’s prison.
Conventional wisdom would say that Moses was committing suicide by going to Egypt and demanding from Pharaoh that he let the children of Israel go. As King Saul is pursuing David on several occasions to kill him, David is only separated from him by a hilltop. Considering the potential that David showed at the beginning of his career, in slaying Goliath and in his early military victories against the Philistines, some people at the time might conclude that David in his middle to late twenties had become a huge disappointment.
Everything about Jesus…what He says, teaches, and does is unconventional. When we accept Jesus into our lives, we become new people with improved characters and attitudes, but we also have a new faith in Christ that can bring the unconventional, supernatural aspect of Jesus into our own set of life events and circumstances.
Christians who want to follow God’s plan for their lives must confront and overcome the negative pull of worldly conventional thinking. God is not for or against wealth or poverty, nor is He for or against the appearance of success or failure. These things are totally beside the point in a biblical journey of faith applied to our lives. God is not assisted by wealth and success or limited by poverty and the appearance of failure. We are supposed to surrender all to Jesus right where we find ourselves, to listen for His voice to become a light and a blessing to ourselves and to those around us, and to be open and accessible to God’s leading wherever that takes us. This is one of the lessons we can learn from the enormously powerful and world-shaking ministry of John the Baptist.
God knows that some people have the God-given abilities to become an outward success in this world. God knows how to reach these types of people and call them by His Spirit to respond to His love, and to surrender their lives to His plans and purposes. God also knows how to reach people who have gifts and talents that are not likely to produce great worldly acclaim or wealth, and to craft lives for them that are more fulfilling and meaningful than anything they could have imagined for themselves. If faith in God is described in the Bible as comparable to fine gold (1 Peter 1:7), then even the most average Christian can aspire to and experience a world-class life following Jesus Christ.