Ordinary women that did extraordinary things.

Ordinary women who did extraordinary things!

My Best is a Product of my Worst!

John 4:17-18, 27-30, 39-42

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”

28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

The Mountain by Jim Stovall

There were two warring tribes in the Andes, one that lived in the lowlands and the other high in the mountains. The mountain people invaded the lowlanders one day, and as part of their plundering of the people, they kidnapped a baby of one of the lowlander families and took the infant with them back up into the mountains.

The lowlanders didn’t know how to climb the mountain. They didn’t know any of the trails that the mountain people used, and they didn’t know where to find the mountain people or how to track them in the steep terrain. Even so, they sent out their best party of fighting men to climb the mountain and bring the baby home.

The men tried first one method of climbing and then another. They tried one trail and then another. After several days of effort, however, they had climbed only several hundred feet. Feeling hopeless and helpless, the lowlander men decided that the cause was lost, and they prepared to return to their village below.

As they were packing their gear for the descent, they saw the baby’s mother walking toward them. They realized that she was coming down the mountain that they hadn’t figured out how to climb. And then they saw that she had the baby strapped to her back. How could that be?

One man greeted her and said, “We couldn’t climb this mountain. How did you do this when we, the strongest and most able men in the village, couldn’t do it?”

She shrugged her shoulders and said, “It wasn’t your baby.”

Source: Jim Stovall, You Don’t Have to Be Blind to See. Thomas Nelson Publishers.

This story is a wonderful illustration of the depths that a mother will go through for her children and the strength and determination of a woman.  Since the month of May contains one of the most important man made holidays of the year, Mother’s Day.  We are going to focus on a few women in the Bible this month.  There is so much that we can learn from the strength, intelligence, love, compassion, and honor of women that I think it is important that we spend some focused time learning from some women in the Bible.  Now these women we are going to talk about are not the women you may be thinking of.  I’m not talking about Ruth or Esther or Hannah or Sarah or even Mary the mother of Jesus.  Which would all be great choices.  But I would like to focus on what some may say ordinary women of the Bible that did some extraordinary things because how many of you know that God does not need much to work with.  Little becomes much when you place it in God’s hand.  And he uses ordinary people like you and me to do extraordinary things everyday!  That is why your best is a product of your worst.  Because it is usually at our worst that God looks at us and sees our potential.  He picks us up, turns us around, and places our feet on solid ground producing our best!

It was when we were at our lowest point that God showed up

It was when we hit rock bottom that God picked us up

It was when we had lost all hope that God showed us the way

It was when we could not even recognize ourselves in the mirror, God whispered he loved us

It was when we did the thing we swore we would never do that God forgave us anyway

It was when we went to far, that God’s love brought us back.

And this is what the story of the woman at the well teaches us today.  I don’t know about you, but just like the woman at the well my best is a product of my worst.  Everything that I’ve done and gone through has made me who I am today.  

The good, the bad and especially the ugly!  

I had to be forged in the fire of life for my best to come out.  

I had to go through the pressure for my best to come out.  

I had to go through the process for my best to come out… and many of you know exactly what I am talking about, but here’s the kicker Church, there is still more best to come out us!

Shall we look at the text…

Now this story is actually 42 versus long.  I started to read the entire passage to you, but was lead to give you the cliff notes instead.  Jesus was leaving Judea on his way to Galilee because he learned that some Pharisees were up to no good again.  Talking about how many people he had baptized compared to John the Baptist.  And the truth was that Jesus wasn’t baptizing anyone, His disciples were. You see how easily rumors get started.   I could preach a whole sermon series on that alone.  Anyway, on the way to Galilee he had to pass through Samaria and while traveling through Samaria he came to a town called Sychar where Jacob’s well was located.  And being tired from his journey he sat down at about noon.  Then a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well and a conversation begins.  A conversation that should have never taken place for several reasons.

She was a Samaritan

She was a woman

She was drawing water at noon

She had men issues

I don’t know about you, but I am so glad that nothing can keep Jesus from us.  

Not our past

Not our presence

Not our personal issues 

Because if that were the case, none of us would be saved today!

But imagine if that was one of us at the well, BC, before Christ of course, we probably would have ignored the woman, especially if her reputation had proceeded her. (There she goes…)  But not Jesus, he made it his mission not only to have a conversation with her, but to convert her, and use her to his glory….

So they have this long conversation about drawing water, and then he flips the script and tells her that he can offer her living water which is the Holy Spirit, revealing to her who he is, and at the same time airing out all of her dirty laundry in away that does not offend her or push her away, but draws her in.  She realizes that she has just encountered the Messiah.  She goes back to town and tells all that will listen. Come see a man that told me everything I ever did.  So they came…. when they got there they asked Jesus to stay a while and he did.  He stayed for two more days and at the end of two days many Samaritans believed.  They said to the woman we no longer believe because of what you said, now we have heard for ourselves, and we now know that this man is the savior of the world.  So the best thing this woman ever did, telling people about Jesus, was a product of her worst.  Because I truly believe that she was at her worst when she came to the well that day, but God.  Somebody say, but God…  Jesus saw something in her just like he sees something in each and everyone one of us today.  So the relevant question is how does God see what he sees?  

How can he look at us when were jacked up from the floor up and see something Good?  

How can God look at us in our sinful state and see potential?  

I am so glad that you asked.  

I will give you three ways God sees the best in us in the midst of our worst and bid you good day!

First God looks beneath the surface.  

Aren’t you so glad that God looks beneath surface.  

Aren’t you so glad that God does not look at the outward appearance, God looks at your heart.  Isn’t that what God told Samuel when he was at Jesse’s house to anoint the new king of Israel….

Aren’t you so glad that God does not look at our pedigree

Aren’t you so glad that God does not look at our political affiliation 

Aren’t you so glad that God does not look at our gender

Aren’t you so glad that God does not look at our race

Aren’t you so glad that God does not look at our economic status 

Aren’t you so glad that God does not look at our faults

Aren’t you so glad that God does not look at our imperfections 

Aren’t you so glad that God does not look at our failures 

God looks beneath the surface and he sees the man or woman that he created

He sees the all that we can be not what we are

He sees all that we can become not who we are right now

He sees his promise being kept

He sees his plans coming to pass

He sees his purpose being fulfilled 

Could you imagine if God treated us like we treated one another and took us at face value.  

What we looked like.  

What he heard about us.  

What he thought about us.  

What he imagined about us.  

Without actually taking the time to get to know us by looking beneath the surface.  

I am so glad that God does not treat us like that.  

I am so glad that can’t nobody do me like Jesus.  

I am so glad that can’t nobody do me like the Lord.  

I am so glad that he is my friend 

Look at your neighbor and tell them that God looks beneath the surface!

First, God looks beneath the surface.  Secondly, God looks between the signs (or the lines).  I don’t know about you but I am so glad that God looks between the signs and you know why… I’ll tell you why… because we can be stupid sometimes.  Now don’t look at me in that tone of voice you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Besides, I’m not talking about you unless I’m talking about you!

Because we always try to act like everything is ok.  

We always want people to think that we have it all under control.  

We want everyone to think that we can handle it. 

We don’t need any help.  

We can do it all by ourselves.  

We have it covered 

We don’t need anything from anybody 

When that is the furthest thing from the truth.  

But when Jesus saw this woman at the well all by herself knowing that in that culture the women rise early in the morning to draw their water.  

Knowing that this woman not only does not have a husband, but she has had five husbands and the man she is with now is not her husband.  

Jesus was able to look between the signs and see that she was hurting.  

Jesus was able to look between the signs and see that she needed living water.

Just like he does for us.  

Jesus looks between our signs of pride and sees our struggles

Jesus looks between our signs of prejudice and sees our pain.

Jesus looks between our signs of self preservation and sees our suffering

Jesus looks between our signs of procrastination and sees our fears

Look at your neighbor and say, Jesus looks between the signs!

First God looks beneath the surface.  Secondly, God looks between the signs.  And lastly, God looks beyond our sin.  I want you to think about that for a moment…. God looks beyond our sin…  he looks beyond the fact that we choose our way over his way.  He looks beyond the fact that we choose our will over his will.  He looks beyond our sin…

Amazing Grace shall always be my song of praise

For it was grace that bought my liberty 

I do no know just why he came to love me so

He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs

I’ll shall forever lift my eyes to Calvary

To view the cross where Jesus died for me

How marvelous was grace that caught my falling soul

He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs.

Is there anybody in the room besides the man holding the microphone excited about the fact that God looks beyond our sin

Just like he looked beyond the sin of the woman at well, he looks beyond our sin as well

He looks beyond the lies

He looks beyond the adultery

He looks beyond the fornication

He looks beyond the coveting

He looks beyond the hatred

He looks beyond gluttony 

He looks beyond the pride

He looks beyond the bad attitude 

He looks beyond the disobedience 

He looks beyond the disrespect 

He looks beyond our sin and sees our needs!

Look at your neighbor and say he looks beyond our sin

Because of these reasons my best is a product of my worst.  Not because of anything that I have done, but because of everything thing that God has done.  What did he do?  God so loved the world…. and he did it while we were yet in sin!  While we were doing all the aforementioned sins and many many more God sent Jesus to die for you and for me.  All because in spite of our worst God brought out our best because he saw something in us.  He saw our potential!

That’s why Marvin Sapp Said…

He saw the best in me

When everyone else around

Could only see the worst in me

Does anybody have that testimony?

When folk wrote you off

Said you would never make it

What did He see?

He saw the best in me

When everyone else around

Could only see the worst in me

Can I tell y’all one more thing?

I just need to tell you one more thing

He’s mine, and I am his

It doesn’t matter what I did

He only sees me for who I am

Does anybody know that today?

He’s mine, and I am his

It doesn’t matter what I did

He only sees me for who I am

Does anybody know that today?

Is there anybody in the room today that is excited about the fact that God sees the the best in you, when everyone else around you including yourself can only see the worst in you!

They see loser God sees the best 

They see failure God see the best 

They see alcoholic God see the best 

They see drug addict God see the best 

They see gossip 

They see prostitute

They see pusher

They see pimp

They see the banger

They see adulterer

They see whoremonger

They see abuser

They see depression 

They see a lost cause

They see drop out

They see unemployed

They see sick

They see homeless

They see juvenile delinquent

They see ex-con

They see has-been

They see what they want to see, but God sees the best in you!

I need somebody in this church to get on your feet and give God praise that he saw the best in you.  That your best is a product of your worst.  And you would not be standing here today if God had not brought you through your worst to bring you to your best!


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