Thursday, July 5, 2012

Think God can't use you? Read this list and be glad He doesn't!

"Motivational" emails tend to be terrible.  Christian motivational emails tend to be worse.  The following one may be one of the worst.  It just fails on every possible level and yet it remains incredibly popular.  I've received it multiple times as part of mass emails over the years and now it has resurfaced as a popular shared item on Facebook.

Terrible, just terrible!  Poorly thought out doesn't begin to describe it!  If you've actually read the Bible you'd know that most of these cases are the opposite of motivational!  Nevertheless Christians just love this thing and I don't know why.  I mean if you just stop to think about it...  Oh wait, I think I just figured it out...

Anyway, I'm just need to get this out of my system!  This list sucks!  Here is why:

Noah was a drunk.
No he wasn't.  The Bible records him getting drunk exactly once.  That hardly makes him a drunk! (Unless you subscribe the the Comfort-Cameron school of fucking terrible philosophy)  Being late once doesn't make you tardy.  Missing work once doesn't make you lazy.  Getting bad marks on one test doesn't make you stupid.  Getting drunk once doesn't make you "a drunk".  Not that any of this matters, since Noah only got drunk after God used him.  You know, with the whole "drowning the world" thing.

Abraham was too old.
For what exactly?  Having kids?  Yes he was.  However by that time he had been working for the Lord for a long time already.  In fact, leaving his home and country behind to work for God was something he did as a much younger man.  Really THIS would have been a better place to use Noah.  God used him to build the ark at age 600!  Isn't that a better example of "you're never too old for God to use you"?

Isaac was a daydreamer.
Really?  The man was nearly a human sacrifice, got married at 40 in an arranged marriage and got conned by his wife and least favourite son when he was old and feeble and we're going with "daydreamer" here?  Really?  Joseph was the dreamer.  Isaac was just the guy you hear about a little bit during the short detour between the grand stories of Abraham and Jacob.  Apart from keeping the bloodline going, how exactly did God use him?

Jacob was a liar.
Yes he was and he got very rich and successful because of it.

Leah was ugly.
Poor Leah!  Hers is a terribly tragic story - she's the homely girl who is forced to marry a guy who only has eyes for her hot little sister.  Again, how exactly did God use her?  Her only role was to be one of the women Jacob had sex with - reluctantly - and she gave birth to some of his children.

Joseph was abused.
OK I guess Isaac had to be stuck with the "daydreaming" thing because Joseph was going to get the "abused" thing.  Here's the thing though, Joseph getting abused was how God used him!  All that getting sold into slavery and the abuse that went with it?  That was God using Joseph.  See for yourself, it says so right there in Genesis 
"I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.  For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.  “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.  "

Moses had a stuttering problem.
Did he though?  I know that's what he said at one point but I always wondered about that.  See later we are told that "Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action" (Acts 7:22) so that makes it sound like he was just making excuses when talking to God.  It's debatable though.  Point is Moses was a bit more than just some dude with a speech impediment!  He also happened to be a highly educated man groomed for leadership.

Gideon was afraid.
Yes he was.  He also came from a rich and powerful family.  Pretty sure that came in handy when it was time to raise an army.

Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer.
OK, WTF was that?  Throwing out his long hair like he was some kind of hippie that God managed to use despite his unwillingness to get a damn haircut!  His long hair was the very thing showing to the world that God was using him!  Cutting his hair meant he was no longer able to beat people to death for the Lord so it was kind of crucial to the whole "being used by God" thing!

Rahab was a prostitute.
Don't be so modest!  She was so much more than just a prostitute!  She was also a traitor who sold out her people and traded her own life (and that of her family) for that of every man, woman and child in Jericho!

Jeremiah and Timothy were too young.
Meh, not bad but I would have gone with Samuel instead.  He started working for God as a child already!  Beat that!

David had an affair and was a murderer.
I love how this always gets mentioned as if the whole Bathsheba incident was the only time David ever tripped up.  Forget Sampson, David was the guy who went through women like they were pringles!  He had a bunch of wives, more than one harem and even when he was too old to do anything with them he still had the most beautiful girl in the land brought in to keep him warm at night.  Worst beauty pageant prize EVER!  But fair enough, God considered David a man after His own heart and certainly used him a lot so I concede this one.

Elijah was suicidal.
Fun fact though, he was only suicidal because God was using him!  It's not like God found him about to jump off a cliff and decided to make him a prophet.  No, it was his prophetic career that led to him wishing he was dead!

Isaiah preached naked.
He didn't preach naked because he was some kind of crazy nudist who was called to preach by God.  He had to preach naked because God told him to.  Preaching naked was how God used him!  Isaiah 20:2 "the Lord spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and loose the sackcloth from your waist and take off your sandals from your feet,” and he did so, walking naked and barefoot."

Jonah ran from God.
Yes he did and was famously kidnapped via fish and put back to work.  Which makes me wonder, doesn't Jonah's story make this whole list pointless?  Clearly if God wants to use you He will do it.  Against your will if need be!

Naomi was a widow.
Of all the widows in the Bible, why choose Naomi?  Whoever made this list must not like women much because they chose really shitty examples!  Naomi pimped out her (also widowed) daughter in law to a rich guy.  I'm not judging, if you're a poor widow in a patriarchal bronze age society, you do what you must to stay alive.  But how did God use her exactly?

Job went bankrupt.
I would just like to take a moment to point out that Job did not "go bankrupt".  God had Job's livelihood destroyed in order to win a bet.  So Job wasn't used by God despite losing everything, he lost everything because God was using him.  To win a bet.  With Satan.

John the Baptist ate locusts.
Perhaps, though it's much more likely a reference to the fruit of the Carob tree than actual bugs.

Peter denied Christ.
Yes he did.

The Disciples fell asleep while praying.
Indeed.  Though all night prayer is pretty tough.  All night anything really!

Martha worried about everything.
In her defense, she kind of had to.  Jesus and His crew were crashing at her place and her sister decided to just hang with the guys leaving Martha to do ALL THE THINGS!  Also, I'm getting a little tired of typing this but apart from waiting on Jesus and the disciples (and her lazy ass sister), how exactly did God use her?

Mary Magdalene was, well you know.
No, I don't know.  She was what?  A disciple of Jesus?  One of the very few of His followers who dared to stick around for His crucifixion?  The first person to see Him after the Resurrection?  Ohhhh, you mean slut-whore.  That's not actually in the Bible.  She only became the slutty one during the middle ages when the Pope decided she was a prostitute

The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once.
That's very possible but it's an interpretation.  All Jesus said was that He knew she had been married 5 times.  Doesn't mean she was necessarily divorced.  What if her husbands just kept dying on her?  There is after all that whole provision in the Law of Moses that if a man dies his wife goes to his brother (and if he dies she goes to the next one and on and on).  I'm just saying that's a possibility we should at least consider!  But fair enough, she had multiple marriages (the shame!  the horror!) and God still used her to evangelize a Samaritan village so finally, an example of a women used by God that actually got used by God!  Woohoo!

Zaccheus was too small. 

Err, correction.  Zaccheus was short.  Not small.  There's a difference.  Still, his height wasn't much of a handicap when it came to being a rich and powerful tax man so I fail to see how it would have prevented him from working for God in the first place...

Paul was too religious.
Wait, being too into working for God is a handicap when it comes to working for God?  Who knew?!  Certainly not the guy who wrote most of the New Testament and basically founded the Christian religion!

Timothy had an ulcer…
Yes, though I'm pretty sure he got that AFTER God started using him!

Lazarus was dead!
Yes he did die.  Twice!  God only used it once though so that's OK.

There you have it, one deeply anti-motivational list!  Seriously, after seeing what "being used by God" can end up meaning any sane person would have really serious reservations about being used by God!!  Who wants to end up broke, naked and abused for God?!


M Fj said...

This is what I think Eugene;
the list is to help those of us Christians, who have lived really messed up lives - running from God, to see that He can still use us!
He will take all of the bad and use it for His good. For His glory.
Just like with everyone mentioned on this list.
This list is motivating to me.
I once was lost, but now I'm found :) And, Loved and Forgiven by the Creator of the universe.

Another purpose I believe this list serves, is; so anyone judging me (thinking that I shouldn't be teaching a Sunday School class, for example) can see that I am in good company. Many of the saints of the bible also messed up at some point in their lives.

Enjoy your day ~

Anonymous said...

This poster is full of biblical inconsistencies and text taken out of context to suit some poetic idea. I do agree with the fact that sometimes God tends to use the most unfit people.

And yes, serving God is difficult and painful at times but if we need a biblical inconsistent poster to motivate us then we show the world that we dont even know the text on which our faith stands.

However serving God, despite the pain, is wonderful...

Anonymous said...

But just think, this is showing that God did use these people even though they did all these bad things. This shows Christians that even though we mess up at times, God can still use us. He can use us even though we have characteristics about us that are not perfect or what society claims to be okay. God can use everybody!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Paul reference is to his preconversion religious life. Later he starts living the spiritual life.