Our nation has experienced its share of prejudice. I grew up in the tumultuous 60’s. The evening news was awash with stories of freedom riders, civil rights marches, boycotts, and racial conflict of every kind. In those days people like Dr. Martin Luther King Dr., Medgar Evers, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson joined ranks with John and Bobby Kennedy to change the cultural landscape of America. I’m a big fan of the sacrificial efforts made by so many to bring about racial equality, end discrimination, and provide equal opportunity for all people during that era.
The rhetoric of those religious and national leaders made a mark on the psyche of our nation. It could be argued their widely televised calls for justice and equality shaped the attitudes of my generation. Most American’s can recall the stirring words of Dr. King’s, “I Have A Dream,” speech. I also recall a speech made by Rev. Jackson that included a powerful poem written by the Rev. William Borders in the 1950’s. It became his mantra.
Words have power. The truth of those few words left an indelible mark on my thinking. The main point of the poem wasn’t especially racial… it spoke to all people. Everyone needs to be reminded they are important, and have an important role to play in the world. Personal value matters. Everyone is capable of making a difference in important ways; ways that honor the Lord and provide a deep sense of personal satisfaction. The poem is called, “I Am Somebody.”
I am Somebody! I am Somebody!
I may be poor, But I am Somebody.
I may be young, But I am Somebody.
I may be on welfare, But I am Somebody.
I may be small, But I am Somebody.
I may have made mistakes, But I am Somebody.
My clothes are different, My face is different,
My hair is different, But I am Somebody.
I am black, brown, or white. I speak a different language
But I must be respected, Protected, Never rejected.
I am God’s child!
Never forget that! You are somebody! Somebody that God considered worthy of His own Son’s suffering and sacrificial death. Remember and never forget the words of God who said, “Never call anything (of anyone) impure that God has made holy.” Peter immediately knew God’s meaning. In response he said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.”
You may not be a racist but that does not mean you are without prejudice. One of the worst forms of prejudice is the prejudice of self-condemnation. It is an epidemic in the world and the source of much pain –personal and shared. Insecure people are hurting people, and hurting people hurt others. YOU ARE SOMEBODY! “Never call impure that which God has made holy!”
Have you ever stopped to think that God has caused you to be born in this time and this place for some reason greater than yourself? You are created to make a difference in things that matter, something of eternal consequence. The world is full of underachievers because they mistakenly believe they are nothing special. They look at their giftedness (or lack there-of), or at their present circumstance and determine they are perfectly placed to accomplish nothing of importance in the world. Self-condemnation is one of the devil’s most proven strategies to foster despair and inhibit the spread of godliness in the world today.
Even a casual examination of the most significant people in the pages of the Bible show how ridiculous it is to assume anyone is insignificant or “forever disqualified” to do something important in the world for God. Moses, King David and the apostle Paul were all guilty of murder. Even then God used them in major ways to advance His cause. Have you ever murdered anyone? Can you think of anyone less qualified to be a spokesman for God’s grace, mercy and love than a common murderer? Abraham was a shepherd, Gideon was a farmer, Peter was a fisherman and Matthew worked for the IRS but they all ended up being used by God to accomplish historic things.
I heard someone say once that the only person God can’t use is a person whose heart is already full of themselves. Pride then, not inadequacy, is all that makes one unqualified for Christian service. God specializes in using the downtrodden, the least-likely, the unqualified to accomplish great things. He loves to accomplish extraordinary outcomes through ordinary people. Abraham Lincoln understood this concept perfectly well. He said, “God must love the common man, He made so many of them.”
It makes perfect sense. One of the apostles helped me better understand this preference of God when he wrote,
“So where (in God’s plan) can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn’t God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.” (1 Corinthians 1:20-21)
You are somebody. You are a Child of God.
“Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.” 2 Peter 1:5-10.
- Why are relational skills an important addition to our knowledge of God?
- Which of the delineated qualities do you most need to add to your faith?
- Explain Peter’s closing statement.
What’s one of the most inspirational stories of the Bible for you where God uses what seems to be an insignificant person?
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Lord – Help me to never doubt Your promise that You have called me by name. Help me to be the person that You have made me to be –filled with Your spirit and love knowing that You would have gone to the cross had it only been just for me. Let me treat everyone else as being Your child with kind words, thoughts and actions. Amen.
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Click on the links below to learn more about what's going on at St. John!
- Get involved with our Back 2 School Backpack Bash on August 10.
- Our children and youth love to have adults in their lives who serve as mentors or just a friendly face on Sundays or at their events. If you want to help out, contact Lisa at for Children’s Ministry (birth-5th grade) and Dawn at for Youth Ministry (6th-12th grade). Read more about how our volunteers help under the Serving Kids section of our website.
Stephen Hower, Pastor
Challenging the status quo to awaken an appreciation for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Phil. 3:13,14
(and to lower my golf score)
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