Theodore Roosevelt is my favorite U.S. president, not because of his politics, but because of the fascinating man he was. Apart from being a statesman, Teddy was an avid hunter, a decorated soldier, the New York City police commissioner, a prolific writer, and even an accomplished North Dakota cowboy. As he was campaigning in Wisconsin in 1912, he was shot in the chest by a saloonkeeper. Roosevelt, instead of immediately going to the hospital, decided to deliver the speech he had scheduled that afternoon. At the start of his address he said to the crowd that gathered, "Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose." He carried the bullet lodged in his rib cage for the rest of his life.MEASURING UP
I used to think that Christian leaders were all Teddy Roosevelts of faith. They were the spiritually decorated war heroes who, because of their unflinching confidence in God, weren't afraid of a wild elephant if one was staring them in face. When I first began to walk with God as a student, that was the type of person I was trying to live up to. As those years went by, it should be no surprise that I fell miserably short of that standard. I found myself afraid to get into gospel conversations with students, selfish and prideful towards my friends, and pessimistic about the success of our ministry. The more I looked into my own heart, the more I saw myself as the cowardly saloonkeeper who pulled the trigger rather than the heroic president who carried the bullet. I genuinely wanted to serve the Lord but I would often find myself thinking, "I'm just not enough!"ADJUSTING OUR PERSPECTIVE
If there ever was a Roosevelt-like man of God, it was Paul of Tarsus. The owner of every accolade a zealous Israelite could achieve, he became a minister of the gospel who was mocked, beaten, imprisoned, ship wrecked, bitten by a poisonous snake and kept on going. Near the end of his life, however, this hall of fame follower of Christ wrote some surprising words to his young friend Timothy. He said, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life." Paul knew that no matter how many bullets we take, religious rules we keep, or valiant missions we embark on, we are all still hopelessly broken sinners who fall infinitely short of the glory of God. There is nothing we can do to ever make ourselves right before him. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. God rescues us to show the world his scandalous grace and limitless love.JESUS DIED FOR THE INSUFFICIENT
During my time in college, God taught me very clearly that I'm not the man I want to be, much less the man that I ought to be. However, that is precisely where the joy of the gospel meets us and changes us. Scripture tells us that God demonstrates his love for us in that even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He entered into a world full of people who can't measure up. He was arrested by his enemies, abandoned by his followers, and crucified by his own people. Jesus, instead of coming down from the cross and dealing with us as our sins deserve, willingly delivered himself up in our place. As the crowd gathered, taunting and jeering around his tortured body, Christ gently prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."HE IS ENOUGH
God calls us to live holy lives, love him, and love the people around us. He calls us to preach the good news of the gospel, help others come to faith, and show people what it means to walk with him for a life time. But we don't need to live up to some Roosevelt-like standard for God to love us or use us. He uses the broken, the weak, and the insufficient to display his wholeness, his strength, and his ultimate sufficiency. As the old saying goes, "God uses crooked sticks to draw straight lines." The remarkable truth of the gospel is that we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope. Trust in the Lord and he will use you, not because you are enough, but because he is.
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