The Bible reminds us that God uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise – God always uses the B-team. In God’s economy, weakness and inadequacy are fundamentals to flourishing in the Christian life. However, so much of Christian culture today celebrates the A-team: the most gifted, the eloquent, the successful and the prosperous. Over and over again the Bible reminds us that the shared story of every Christian is not one of performance and gifting but rather one of God’s intervention.
You know what the two most powerful words in all of human history are? BUT GOD.
Ephesians 2:4-5 remind us that, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved.”
Perhaps you can relate to one of these: I kicked my kid’s toy across the room because I lost my temper: but God. I got into a huge argument with my wife: but God. I lost my job…I’m divorced…I have a record…a past: but God. But God is the story of every follower of Jesus Christ. But God is the story of every Christian. In fact, it is the theme of the entire story of the Bible.
In Genesis 8, Noah thought he would die on the ark, but God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock that were with him in the ark and sent a wind over the earth and the waters receded.
In Genesis 50:20, Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and addressed his brothers saying, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
In 1st Samuel 23, Saul, jealously sought to kill David: “Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands.”
In Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart my fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
If you are reading this article right now and you have put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, But God is your story. But God is the intervention that changes everything.
Adam and Eve, naked and ashamed as they were removed from the Garden of Eden – But God. Moses, a stuttering murderer — But God. Rahab, a prostitute who was filled with faith – But God. Abraham, a deceitful liar, married a barren wife who didn’t believe God would give her a baby in our old age – But God. David, a shepherd, a nobody who was overlooked and made fun of – But God. Lazarus, a dead man who was called back to life — But God. The disciples of Jesus Christ, tax collectors, fisherman, crooked politicians, normal, blue collar people – But God.
You see, no matter what your story is, no matter where you came from, what you’ve done, what you’ve left undone, no matter what your education is, the amount of money that’s in your bank account, single, divorced, widowed, white, black, Hispanic, Greek, Asian, Latino — if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, yours is a story of But God – a story that’s moved from hopelessness and despair into a story of hope healing and transformation.
Transforming South Florida
You want to know how South Florida will be transformed? Countless stories of But God. Postal workers and pastors, stay-at-home moms and IT professionals, plumbers and CEO’s, social workers and nonprofit employees – people who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ and who have allowed the grace of God to impact their story in such a profound way that their friends, neighbors, co-works and communities take notice. South Florida isn’t going to be transformed because a bunch of Christians got together to try their best, preform for God, pull themselves up by their boot straps and finally get their act together. No.
South Florida will become known as a best place to live, work and raise a family as more and more of God’s people are reoriented that God uses broken, messed up, imperfect people like us to accomplish his purposes on earth. People who realize that they have been saved by grace alone, through faith alone, for the flourishing of the world and Glory of God.
Too often we forget that not only has God saved us from something, but that he’s also saved us to something. At the end of Ephesians 2:1-10 we are reminded that God saves us by faith alone, through grace alone for the purpose of good works. What are those good works? Allowing the grace shown to us in Jesus Christ to fuel our efforts to spread faith, hope and love throughout the region. No matter who you are or what you do, yours is a story of But God and you have a role to play in the transformation of South Florida.
Edwin Copeland serves as the Director of Church United with the National Christian Foundation of South Florida where he works to unify the Church through collaboration and celebration to see faith, hope, and love spread throughout South Florida. To learn more about Church United, visit churchunited.city.