What do you normally think of when you think of the prophets? I used to envision respectable men of God who lived a good, normal life. They were like modern day ministers with higher educations in suits standing in the pulpit preaching beautiful, inspiring messages, followed by a procession of handshakes and complements on a sermon well done.
But that is not the picture the Bible gives us. Unlike the popular, crowd-pleasing prophets, the prophets of Yahweh were often ostracized on the fringes of society. They often had extreme, hard, unusual messages and proclaimed it in unusual ways. They did not have seminary educations, a tenured professorship, or an impressive pedigree. Their lives were not defined by education or pedigree, but by their call from God to proclaim his message fearlessly and faithfully.
Take Amos, for example. He was a common workingman. Later, he tells Amaziah,
“I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet; for I am a herdsman and a grower of sycamore figs. But the LORD took me from following the flock and the LORD said to me, 'Go prophesy to my people Israel (Amos 7:14-15).' ”
God doesn’t call extraordinary people. He calls ordinary people to believe in an extraordinary God. Ministry is not reserved for the college trained or for “professionals.” Jesus says that the “least” in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than John the Baptist, the prophet who served as his forerunner (Lk 7:28). God calls the “least of these” to serve in his kingdom. That is you and I.