"Used or Useful," Matthew 1: 18-25; Pastor Marvin G Spence
When we hear someone being "used," it usually means the person was taken advantage of (emotionally, financially, socially, etc.) by another. If we apply conventional, worldly wisdom to Matthew 1: 18-25, some would incorrectly conclude that Mary and Joseph were being "used" by God. The reality is that God gave each of them the opportunity to be useful participants in is His salvation plan for us. They chose to obey God--Mary becomes Jesus' mother; Joseph marries Mary and Joesph becomes Jesus' earthly father. Our life-lesson from these parents' obedience to God's calling is that we each have the opportunity to choose to do what pleases God rather than try to conform to worldly expectations of what is the right thing to do. What do we gain when we decide to be useful to the Lord, take up our cross, and apply is His teaching to our lives? We become identified as Christians by actions and life-style, useful in sharing the gospel and benefits of spiritual rebirth.