Then Amaziah sent orders to Amos: “Get out of here, you prophet! Go on back to the land of Judah, and earn your living by prophesying there! Don’t bother us with your prophecies here in Bethel. This is the king’s sanctuary and the national place of worship!”
But Amos replied, “I’m not a professional prophet, and I was never trained to be one. I’m just a shepherd, and I take care of sycamore-fig trees. But the Lord called me away from my flock and told me, ‘Go and prophesy to my people in Israel.’ (NLT)
God seems to like choosing the most unlikely people to be instruments of his grace and truth. Here we have Amos, who looked after sheep and sycamore trees. If you were applying for a job as God’s anointed prophet and had that on your CV you wouldn’t probably get to the first interview!
Then again, God chose a young anonymous girl to give birth to his Son. He chose the pagan king Cyrus to be an instrument of his purposes. He chose fishermen to found his church. True, he can work through the rich and famous and well credentialed. But he is not limited to such individuals. He uses the most unlikely people to get through to us. So we dare not despise the ordinary people and settle for being beguiled by the great ones who publish books and speak at large conferences.
From those young in the faith we can learn wisdom. From those materially poor we can learn perseverance. From those with little education we can learn faithfulness. From our critics outside the church we can learn humble self-awareness.
God may well be speaking to us through people we falsely assume have no part to play in our Christian journey. We do well to see all those we meet as being at least potential mouthpieces of God. His extraordinary power may come to us through quite ordinary people.