On Barking Dogs and Sleeping Lions
"Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise ... the weak things of the world to shame the strong ... the lowly things of the world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him."1
Irving is credited with having made the remark that "a barking dog is often more useful than a sleeping lion." Another way of saying the same thing is that "the race is not always to the swift but to those who keep on running."
One of the encouraging aspects about God is that you don't have to be an expert or anything out of the ordinary for him to use you. God uses people just like you and me. Consider, for example, the men Jesus chose to be his disciples: a couple of fishermen, a despised tax gatherer, a thief, and so on.
Jesus himself didn't attend college or seminary (or the equivalent in his day) but chose as his profession to be a carpenter as was his father, Joseph.
For God to use us, we just need to be available and faithful to his calling, and get adequately trained so we can do the best we can in our service to the Lord. While the disciples weren't qualified to be disciples when Jesus called them, they spent the next three years being trained by the Master Teacher Par Excellence—the Lord himself.
Remember, it's better to be a barking dog than a sleeping lion.
What a difference we Christians would make in our family and all our relationships, in our church, and in the world in which we live if we would all pray the following prayer at the beginning of every day: "Dear God, I'm available. Please make me usable and use me today to be as Christ to my family, to someone in need, and in some way to every life I touch. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 1 Corinthians 1:26–28 (NIV).