This post was brought on largely in part by a friend of mine who is frustrated that he can't do what he wants ministry-wise and in his eyes is getting no help or encouragement from his church and pastor. I can somewhat relate. I find myself wanting to be used of God, yet in my case I don't feel like I am ready to be used by God. I feel like I need to get closer to God, have it more together than I do at this point, and a few other reasons I feel unprepared to be used by God.
And then I read an article yesterday by a favorite author of mine titled "God Doesn't Need You to Be Qualified", and that kind of blew my thinking out of the water.
I personally think there are some mistakes we make with our ideas of being used by God. I am sure someone more intelligent could come up with more, but this is just me:
1) We think we are ready before God knows we are ready.
Moses was 80 years old when he led the Israelites out of Egypt. God stuck him in the wilderness tending sheep for 40 years before he used him. And history is full of people that God used in great ways in the later years of their lives.
2) We don't think we are ready when God knows we are ready.
See what I did there? This is just the opposite of the first point.
In John 1:42 there is a simple verse that says "Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter)
Andrew had just left John the Baptist to follow Jesus, and went and brought his brother to Jesus. And anyone who knows their Bible knows how God used Peter...... but God used Andrew to bring Peter to Jesus, and the Bible indicates that it was the same day.
There are other examples of people who God used the same very day they prayed and became a Christian. One does not have to be a mature Christian of many years to be used of God.
3) We think people must see me being used for it to count.
Yes, there are Christians who think that, but only eternity will review how God has used people behind the scenes.
I am reminded of the story about a woman who was bemoaning to her pastor that she didn't feel she had done much for God in her life. To make a long story short, the pastor named all of her children and asked what they were doing, and all of them were pastors, missionaries, or pastor's wives. Although she herself had no ministry, she had raised her children in such a way that they were used of God. She did nothing in the limelight, but through her much was accomplished for God.
4) We assume it must be big to make a difference.
I have a couple of friends who have ministries for those struggling with same-sex attractions but want to live for God instead of the gay lifestyle. They have helped a lot of people. What they do is a big thing, but God doesn't call all of us to have a ministry. Some of us He uses in small ways with no official ministry.
In my first "Jesus Use Me" post, I related a story about a woman who simply helped a man pick out a Bible and then paid for the Bible. That really isn't much, but yet it was. The list of ways God can use us in small ways is endless, and no one could make a complete list. It can be an encouraging word, an email, a Facebook post, a prayer, a card, taking someone to lunch and just listening.
5) We mix up who it is about.
It is all about Jesus and how He wants to use us, not how we think we ought to be used and about what we want to do for Him.
I used to speak a lot in church. We had our youth service in the main sanctuary and at that time, it was geared for teens and anyone up through age 40. They would have activities outside of the church separately for those age groups, but the services were for all. Since it was in the main sanctuary, anyone could come who wanted to, so there was a variety of ages present. They have since put the teens and early 20's people in the basement and just have prayer time in the main sanctuary for anyone older than that...... yeah, no fun and games if you aren't a teen or early 20's, but that is life. :)
Anyway, I used to speak a lot when it was all in the main sanctuary. On some level, I enjoyed it a little. Oh, I didn't enjoy it enough to ask to speak, but I didn't mind it. I became somewhat of the go-to guy when they were desperate. I actually got called one Sunday an hour before the service was to start and asked if I could come up with something, as there was a cancellation by the speaker. I think I did Bible trivia that time. It wasn't uncommon to get a call when someone cancelled.
Then I got banned from speaking. True story. Whether right or wrong, I said some things from the front that though our church believes and practices, didn't go over well with the powers that be. And so for several months, I didn't speak.
Then they had a cancellation and were really desperate, and I got a call, so I spoke one last time. Then I moved away for two years.... nothing to do with that.
That was nine years ago. I haven't spoken anywhere since then, and I am okay with that. I'm actually not sure that I have it in me to speak in public anymore. Several years of dealing with depression can do that to you.
But I am at a point that I feel God wants to use me. How, I have no idea. Doing what, I have no idea. I can't see me speaking again, but what if He wants me to? I can't see me doing the kind of ministry my friend wants to do, but what if that is God's plan for my life?
I look at my life, my abilities, and my skills...... and see nothing God can use. I am pretty mediocre. I don't consider myself to be good at much. I enjoy blogging, but don't like most of what I write, and half of what I write never even gets published.
I have more flaws and weaknesses than any one person should have. I have failed God more often than not, and feel like I am spinning my wheels in a rut that is my life.
And that brings me to the last mistake that I see, which may intertwine with the others:
6) We must be qualified for God to use us.
This one is a biggie for me, though most of my points are issues for me. But the old saying is true:
I believe there are a couple of things that matter when it comes to being used by God, and qualifications is not one of them:
1) Be willing and obedient.
2) Be right with God. One can't be used much by God if they are not where they need to be with Him..... and no one has arrived at the place where they have all of God they need, but we should all be walking toward God and walking in the light He gives us, not fighting Him.
Others may come up with different and more things, but I believe that is what it comes down to: serving God with all of our hearts, and being willing and obedient. That is all He needs. I believe He can and will use all of use, but it will not always be when and how we think it should be, but that is why He is God and we are not...... He knows best.