To Use a Loser

I love scrabble, grammar and Chopin. A perfect Friday night would probably involve a wood burner, a cup of tea, a book and rice pudding from a tin. I’m proud to admit that I read the dictionary as a child. My biggest celebrity idol is Susie Dent (from Countdown‘s dictionary corner). With such a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, it’s a wonder I’ve not been on the front cover of Rolling Stones yet.

My skill set is limited. I can play the piano. I can explain a semicolon to anyone that asks (and that is a surprisingly high number). I can write. (Although, I need to learn to proofread better!) I’m a teacher. I’m not a Britain’s Got Talent hotshot or some child prodigy (that ship sailed years ago). I doubt I will make a history book or even a Wikipedia article. There is very little to distinguish me from others.

But, if you were to track the type of people that God used there is a clear trend. They rarely have illustrious CVs or rarely sought fame for fame’s sake. Often they were the least likely candidates. They were the ones whose applications would be chucked in the bin before being offered an interview. They were two old, too many past convictions (murder, adultery), too weak, too many special needs (speech impediments, blindness, quadriplegia), too zealous for the wrong side. They ticked none of the boxes and had qualities that would have disqualified them for the role. But God used them anyway.

There was only one word that God looks for on a suitable CV. That word is yes. Yes, God, I will do what you ask me. Yes, God, I will go where you lead me. Yes, God, I will give you the little I have to offer.

When I was about six years old, I naively told God yes. My dad told us about he became a Christian. When I heard this, I remember thinking that I wanted to do what God told me to. Perhaps faithfulness and obedience were to be added to my vocabulary later, but that’s what I innocently promised. I didn’t know really what it meant and it’s not always easy.

God has used my love of English and my profession in crazy ways. First, he took my love of books to bring me in contact with some of the most amazing people you could ever meet: my students in my Southampton school. I taught them Shakespeare; they taught me to be a better person. Then God led me to Cambodia. Cambodia is a nation that is clamouring to learn English. My knowledge of the language and ability to distinguish the present perfect tense from the future perfect conditional comes in handy. God has used this and humbled me in how He can take such a dull skill set and use it for His work.

If God can use my talents for his use, surely he can use yours.

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