“17Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”
— James 5:17-18
“Elijah was a man just like us…”
The writer of James surely wanted this point made, or else he would have simply said Elijah’s name. Something about this story is important, something about this story relates to the Spiritual Life of a Christian; but what is it? What is so important that James classifies Elijah as a man just like us?
James made it a point to show that God uses ordinary men in carrying out His extra-ordinary work. Elijah was a prime example of this, nothing special, nothing unique, nothing different from you and I – that is except he was in touch with his Lord. God uses people who are willing to get out of the way and allow Him to work through them, not to say He can’t use someone who doesn’t; but, as we all know, it is easier to get work done when everyone is working for the same cause. God uses ordinary people!
Not only does God use ordinary men and women, but He is always out to accomplish His purpose, not ours. It may seem that our purpose is being fulfilled, but when you are in tune with God, His purpose is your purpose. Look at Moses for a moment and you’ll see a man who was able to accomplish God’s purpose, only after learning that God wasn’t out to help Moses unless Moses was in tune with God. Moses wanted to see the Hebrew Nation freed from Egyptian captivity, and he tried to take the matter into his own hands, killing an Egyptian guard. All this got Moses was 40 years of exile to think about what he had done, but those 40 years were used for teaching and preparing for the plan that God had already laid forward in His will. Moses may have delayed the process, but God still won the war in the life of Moses.
This brings us back to Elijah, a man who was willing to go against the odds to pursue the will of God. In 1 Kings 18, we find Elijah on the mountain debating with the followers of Ba’al over who is the greatest; God or Ba’al. Elijah was outnumbered 450 to 1, but he knew that God plus 1 equals a majority. Elijah took the opportunity to not only show that God uses ordinary people, but that God is an extraordinary God by dousing the alter three times, filling a trench to the brim that encircled the alter, basically making the offering impossible to burn; at least for man to burn. Elijah’s commitment to God was shown that day when the Fire of God not only burnt the offering, but consumed the alter and everything that had been poured on top; proving that God can make possible the things that seem impossible.
What are you willing to let God do today through you? Have you been struggling to understand why everything for you seems so ordinary? If you are feeling like nothing special, God is looking for you! God uses those who have humbled themselves and stepped aside to make an impact for His kingdom, because pride no longer gets in the way. Be the one God can use today! Let go of the past, let go of the pain, and let go of selfish ambition…so that you can put on the armor of God and become the man or woman God is calling you to be! Don’t feel like being ordinary is a bad thing; remember that the Lord uses ordinary people to accomplish the extraordinary every day!