Out of all the people Gandalf could have chosen to take the Ring of Power to Mordor, he chose a handful of helpless hobbits.
To be honest, it seems a little ridiculous. Why didn’t he pick someone more powerful? Someone brave and courageous? Someone able to handle the task on their own?
He had no shortage of formidable characters that could have easily taken the Ring. Aragorn certainly was a good option. Or Legolas, Boromir, or Gimli. Gandalf himself could have handled the Ring.
So why did he choose short, neighborly hobbits whose main concerns involve who is stealing their prized soup spoons and when they can eat second breakfast?
Similarly, why does God choose to use us?
Why does God use fragile, finite humans to fulfill His purposes?
To Shame the Wise
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:20, “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”
The world thinks it knows best. It brings honor to the famous. It praises those who are successful.
But God doesn’t work that way. Paul goes on to write:
For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.1 Corinthians 1:26-29
He Looks at the Heart
When God sent Samuel to anoint King Saul’s successor, Samuel looked at the outside appearance. The first of Jesse’s sons was tall and handsome. He was obviously king-material.
At least, that’s what Samuel thought.
The Lord told him, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)
Samuel then goes through seven brothers. By the time he finished, Jesse was probably wondering what was wrong with his sons. Surely one of them was fit to rule Israel.
When Samuel asks, Jesse reveals that he has one more son. The youngest, David, was not even considered an option. He was left to care for the sheep.
Yet David was the man God had chosen to be king. He wasn’t picked because he was handsome. He wasn’t picked because he was mighty in battle. Yes, he was both of those things, but God selected David because He saw his heart.
David is often described as “a man after God’s own heart.” (Acts 13:22)
It Brings Him Greater Glory
I have a John MacArthur quote above my desk. It says:
God chooses the humble, the lowly, the meek, and the weak, so that there’s never any question about the source of power when their lives change the world.
When God uses the lowly to accomplish His purposes, it is clear that He is the One working through them (Phil. 2:13).
Nothing prevents Him from using the rich, the famous, and the powerful. But for a reason we can’t entirely understand, He gets more glory by using the weak.
Just think about Jesus’ incarnation. He could have been born in a palace, surrounded by courtiers and servants, ready to serve His every need. But He was born in a stable to a young peasant girl from Nazareth. One of His disciples later says, “Can any good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46)
But why, you ask?
Remember the last phrase of our passage from 1 Corinthians?
“…so that no man may boast before God.” (1:29)
God works through the weak to highlight His strength. He uses the helpless to demonstrate His ability to save. He redeems the broken to show His power to restore.
Thank you to Michael who gave me the original idea for this post.