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"Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
Have you ever noticed how they go about selling weight loss products on TV? It's not a doctor who's their main salesperson usually. No, they get someone who was heavy and who has traded in their tent for designer jeans now. Listen, I know that feeling. I had to lose a lot of weight at one point in my life. You know, advertisers know that the best salesman for a product is someone who's been there - who's lived it. Because as I lost about 50 pounds some years ago, people actually listen to me when I talk about losing weight. Being fat wasn't fun, but it seems to give a person credentials with people who struggle with it now. Who wants to listen to a person who's been thin their whole life, whose metabolism is their friend, whose never struggled with what you're struggling with? It's interesting how yesterday's misery can become today's credentials.
In our word for today from the Word of God, we meet a man who knew what misery was, but who discovered how his misery could become credentials for impacting lives. In John 9:24-25, this man had been blind his whole life, until the day he was miraculously healed by Jesus, and now he's being interrogated by Jesus' enemies. These religious leaders are totally overlooking the miracle and they're just trying to criticize Jesus for doing it on the Sabbath day.
The Bible says, "A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. 'Give glory to God,' they said. 'We know this man is a sinner.' He replied, 'Whether He is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind, but now I see.'" This man is used by God to give a ringing, indisputable testimony of the power of Jesus to some very powerful people. What qualified him to be a voice for Jesus? A lifetime of being blind!
Suddenly his lifelong burden, his lifelong tragedy, had become his credentials for speaking to others. Now, God loves to do things like that - to take the garbage of our past, no matter how ugly, and recycle it into ministry to people - people who are where you were. I just got an email from a lady talking about all the junk of her past and a terrible life, honestly. And she said, "What was my mess, has become my ministry."
The Apostle Paul was an amazing example of that. His crimes of persecuting Christians became his credentials once he was a Christian. People listened to him because of what he had been. When you comfort someone who is going through the same kind of pain that you've been through, your tragedy becomes your credentials.
Sin is ugly and sin is destructive, so destructive that it took Christ's death to pay for it. But God is so majestic that He can take the things you did against Him, forgive those things, restore and change you, and use those very sins to sensitize you to others who are still trapped in those sins. They give you credentials to either keep people from those sins or help lead them out of them.
Let's bring it to your life right now. Today's frustration, today's agony or illness or hurt, takes on meaning when you bring it to the Lord and say, "Lord, sanctify this hard thing. Teach me new sensitivities and new things about You. I want this tragedy to count." If you've been mistreated, or abused, or criticized, give that to God to make you an instrument of His love and His healing to other wounded people. After all, you know how it feels. That's ministry credentials.
God uses the junk of our lives to build radar for ministering to others like us. You talk about amazing grace! God can recycle the worst garbage of your life into something He can use to change lives. If you put the misery of today in God's hands, it can become tomorrow's strange credentials for leading people to Him.
"A Word With You" by Ron Hutchcraft is a daily radio challenge, with slice-of-life illustrations and insights - providing practical help on the issues that matter most. If your local Christian radio station does not air "A Word With You," please let them know how much you value this program. Over six years of transcripts are available online, at
Safety is a major concern at the manufacturing company where I work. So I'm constantly preaching caution to the workers I supervise. "Does anyone know," I asked a few guys, "what the speed limit is in our parking lot?"
The long silence that followed was interrupted when one of them piped up. "That depends. Do you mean coming in to work or leaving?"