Bible Study Church and Ministry People in the Bible

Amos: An Ordinary Man

Written by Patti Greene

There are many men and women who feel ordinary! Being ordinary is synonymous with being average. They might go to an average school, live in an average neighborhood, or be uneducated. One of the worse sentiments one might feel about being ordinary is presuming there is no purpose or calling in life. In today’s culture, we are impressed with wealth, beauty, popularity, being accomplished, and fame. But, let’s look at Amos — an ordinary man with a passion for God who was called to proclaim God’s message of judgment to Israel and other nations due to their sin and disobedience.

AMOS

Amos, an Old Testament minor prophet, was considered to be an ordinary man. In Amos 7:14-15, he says, “I’m not one of your professional prophets. I certainly never trained to be one. I’m just a shepherd and I take care of fig trees. But the Lord called me away from my flock and told me, ‘Go prophesy to my people in Israel.’” [NLT]  Amos might have even been a seasonal worker due to the fact that he lived in Tekoa, a town 16 miles from the Dead Sea, where sycamore trees are not cultivated due to the altitude and climate. Thus, implying he might have had to leave Tekoa during certain months of the year to care for and cultivate the sycamore fig trees. Many commentaries believe Amos did not have any formal training, but he was learned in the ways of God. During Amos’ lifetime, Israel was a nation filled with pride, beauty, elegance, and riches. As Amos went about living “the ordinary life” God gave him, he was called by his heavenly Father for a particular task. He lived during the reign of Jeroboam II around 786-746 BC. It was during this time, he recognized his calling from God to proclaim the message the Lord gave him. He did not arrive on the scene to tickle anybody’s ears. He arrived able, prepared, and willing to work passionately on the assignment God gave him. You will find in the Book of Amos that Amos speaks little of himself; he is there to pronounce the judgment God sent him to do. Speaking God’s word throughout the Book of Amos, he became known for his repetitively saying, “Thus says the LORD” before many of his proclamations. He spoke God’s word throughout the Book of Amos.

As I read the Book of Amos, I became aware of some of the characteristics Amos possessed both prior to and during him announcing the destruction of Israel.

CHARACTERISTICS OF AMOS

  • He sought the Lord;
  • He had a deep-rooted faith;
  • He was being prepared by God;
  • He walked with God;
  • He accepted his lot in life;
  • He was wise in the ways of God;
  • He was close enough to God to know what the Lord said;
  • He spoke only what the Lord said;
  • He was confident in what he said;
  • He was not fearful in bringing bad news to others;
  • He was not fearful in talking to others outside of his class;
  • He sought good and not evil;

GOD CAN USE YOU

The Lord used other “ordinary” men throughout history. David, Eliab, Gideon, Peter, James, and John were used mightily. Even Jesus was a simple man that God called to be the most important influence in all civilizations. And, God can use you!

Someday God may ask you to step out of your comfort zone. We carry around barriers in our life. We don’t take the steps needed to be used by God. God is going to use those who are already steeped in His word and those willing to walk His ways. He will choose us and seek us as we prepare ourselves to expand our influence for him. With Amos, it is most likely he was called for a particular assignment at a particular time. Maybe he went back to tending sheep and sycamore trees after this assignment was accomplished – we just don’t know as there is no record. But, we do know that when God wanted to use him, he was available and willing. In our lives, we should remember that God is able to do whatever He wants to and he will equip anyone willing to carry out his plans. You may not be an educated person; you may not have been born into an elite family, but God can use you. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 states, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. God will give you strength to do what He is calling you to do. God desires to use us to our fullest. He knows if we are unprepared and He wants to prepare us. He knows if we are imperfect, but he sees the potential we have to pursue His purposes. You may have a dream or a vision, but feel unable achieve it. Don’t give up. Water and prune your vision, and wait for God’s appointed time. But, while waiting, follow his leadings, as small and/or as insignificant as they might seem, as this is part of his preparation for you. Just trust that His Spirit is working and perfecting you until the time He calls you like he did Amos. Then, when He shows you He is ready, you will be ready to act.

PREPARING FOR MINISTRY

  • Seek the Lord;
  • Develop a deep-rooted faith;
  • Allow God to prepare you;
  • Walk with God;
  • Accept your lot in life;
  • Be wise;
  • Develop a deep closeness to God through Bible study and prayer;
  • Speak only what is Godly;
  • Be confident in God’s words and whispers;
  • Develop a fearless spirit in speaking for God;
  • Understand that God can use you with anyone — regardless of social class, intellect, race, or religion;
  • Seek good, not evil.

Notice that our preparations mirror Amos’ characteristics.

PERSONAL TESTIMONY

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Looking back at my life, I can see how God had been preparing me for my current ministry of writing devotional prayer journals and blogging. When I was around 7 or 8 years old, I loved the Science projects where I had to find leaves, label them, and glue them on cardboard. I call that gathering information and presenting it. As a senior in high school, I had an English assignment where we had to find poems and quotes, put them together in booklet form, and find pictures from newspapers or magazines that related to the poems or quotes. Again, I was gathering information and presenting it. I loved it. Imagine my distress when I received my first college essay back with a big, fat, red F on it. I thought I was an awful writer for years. But, God kept giving me little assignments along the way, i.e. writing Table Talks for Wednesday night church dinners, making educational bulletin boards, becoming a librarian.  One time I was given the assignment by our church planner to research an apartment complex where the church wanted to start a ministry. It was awesome. I used my detective skills; took notes on the bumper stickers in the parking lot; noticed the ages of the children in the complex; spoke to the apartment manager, and of course, put together a booklet with the results. Following God is fun and adventurous. My suggestion is for you to look over your life, see what you have enjoyed, and give your talents to the Lord and ask him to show you how he can use you in the small things. All God’s assignments are profitable, so as we go from one to the next, keep preparing yourself for the next one.

GOD CAN USE THE MOST UNLIKELY PEOPLE

God can use the most unlikely people in life to do a job for him. In God Uses Ordinary People, Mark Hiehle tells the following story of a man God used to meet a woman’s needs and how the recipient viewed it.

I once heard of a woman who had locked her keys in her car at a mall. Not having the funds to call a locksmith, she prayed and asked God to help her. Shortly after, a rough looking man came up to her and asked if she needed any help. She told him that her keys were locked in her car; and in no time, the man used a wire and lifted the lock. The woman thanked him and said that he was an answer to prayer and an angel. The man said, “Oh, I am not an angel, ma’am. I just got out of prison.” The woman looked to heaven and said, “Oh Lord, You are so good! You sent me an expert.” ¹

I love it!

The Lord is consistently calling his children to do His work. We have the choice whether to answer him or not. Our problem is the world in which we live in allows us to questions whether we have enough desire, time, money, and intellect to follow through in His calling(s). We need to make time to listen to the Lord; seek out His will; follow His leading: and let him supply all that is needed to accomplish his purposes through us. Let’s seek out our reasons for not moving forward. Is it because we don’t feel spiritual enough? Then work on that through prayer and Bible study. Is it because you need money to start the ministry God is calling you to? Start with what you have and allow God to find what you need to move on. It is not our strength that gets God’s work done, but our willingness and trust in Him to accomplish the calling and ministries He puts on our hearts.

As the former governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, says,

“It’s when ordinary people rise above the expectations and seize the opportunity that milestones truly are reached.”²

And, we do this by not depending on our abilities and intellect; we do this by depending on God as our source to achieve mighty things for him – even though we might be ordinary.

What does God have in store for you in 2016? Pray, Read, Listen, and then Act.

Blessings and feel free to share this article with your friends and family!

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Bible Verses:

He that is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much: and he that is unrighteous in a very little is unrighteous also in much. Luke 16:10 NABS

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 2 Corinthians 11:30 ESV

Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at the table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! Luke 12:35-38 ESV

Prayer:

Lord, I want you. I want to be used by you. I am asking you today to make me faithful in all the little things that honor you. I confess my sins to you knowing that you will forgive me. I may feel ordinary in the world’s eyes, but I know I am the apple of your eye. Give me the ability to discern each and every step you have for me in my life. Let me obey you and accomplish your purposes for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


¹ Hiehle, Mark. “God Uses Ordinary People.” http://atcmag.com. January 2010.  Web. 2 January 2016.

² Huckabee, Mike. www.brainquote.com. n.d. Web. January 2, 2016.

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About the author

Patti Greene

Patti Greene is the author of two outstanding devotional prayer journals: Awaken Me and Anchor Me. Her 43-years of personal prayer journaling experience inspire others to incorporate Bible study and prayer in their daily walk with the Lord. Greene’s graduate studies include religious education and library science. When not writing books or blogs, Patti spends her time reading, researching, traveling, and going out to lunch with friends and family. Patti and her husband, John, have three adult children and five grandchildren. They make their home in Houston, Texas. You can visit her at www.PattiGreene.com.

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