Which Bible character is your least favorite? Maybe that’s a strange question, but when we read the Bible closely, it seems like the list of potential candidates is endless. Perhaps King Herod repulses you most. Who could forgive his executive order to kill all of Bethlehem’s boys under age two? Or perhaps you have trouble getting past Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his own son, even though his situation seems tricky. Does David bother you most when he conspires to have Uriah killed so that he can hide his sins and take Bathsheba as his wife? When we pay close attention to the people in the biblical text, we learn how exceedingly difficult it is to call any of them role models. Even those we tout as great biblical heroes made some reprehensible choices.
But therein lies the beauty and truth of our own callings as God’s beloved. God uses all kinds of sinful people who are full of greed and lust, jealousy and anger to do God’s work in the world. God tends to choose the broken and rejected.
On those days when we examine our lives and feel certain that they are too broken to be useful, remember how often Scripture proves that idea wrong. In today’s text we encounter Paul, my least favorite biblical character. Paul says some things about the role and place of women that make my blood boil, even after I take his culture and context into account. Not to mention the active role he once played in persecuting Christians! Yet even Paul was not beyond the reach of God’s grace. Thanks be to God that I’m not either.
Who is your least favorite person in the Bible? How could their story remind you that God has a continuing purpose for your life, even when we make truly questionable choices?
God, remind me that though I fall short, I am more than enough to be your beloved child. Amen.