Saturday, November 28, 2015

Disqualified but Through Him, Qualified

Grace Wins
Some fisherman are loading their boats getting ready to go out for the morning catch. They have done this their whole lives which meant their education was somewhat limited. In fact, their family has been in this trade for generations. They were unlucky that morning, until a strange man came and showed them something they had never seen before.

A shepherd, tending to his flock, was leading the sheep to the far side of the wilderness. He didn't know much about his past except that he grew up as an adopted son in the palace. He knew he was different and that he was spared a life of slavery, but he had to leave before someone found out about his secret. Now, his job was taking care of his father-in-law's sheep. A lowly position, with little benefits.

A man, doing his daily duty collecting taxes, was despised by many. He knew the town's people wanted nothing to do with him and he learned to accept it. He didn't have many friends because others considered him their enemy. All he wanted to do was his job, but on the inside, he longed for acceptance.

She knew why the two strange men were in her house, but it wasn't for the reason that normally occurred. She heard stories of what these people had been doing in the lands and was afraid for her family. Although she lived a life of questionable morality, she made the decision to trust these strange men and made sure they were safely hidden from the officials in the city.

There are lots of stories in the Bible that parallel our own. Stories of failure, weakness, feelings of inadequacy...sin. You know what though, despite the way we may feel about our pasts, God still desires to use us. A few uneducated fisherman, a man full of excuses with a secret and a speech impediment, another man with a job that everyone in town despised, and a woman who lived a tainted life; were all used by God.

I don't know if any of these stories mirror your own. I know my life fits in there somewhere. So, like many others I often question my qualifications to do what I know God wants me to do. Like me, you may question, how or even why, would God use me? I can say right here and now, I am NOT qualified! If we are all honest with ourselves, none of us are qualified. We have ALL fallen short of God's radiant glory. But, God can use us ~ anyway.

There is the story of Peter, being taught be Jesus himself, who watched Him heal the sick, and witnessed miracle after miracle; the one Jesus called "The Rock", also fell short.

I think we all feel as though we fall short in more ways than one. We all feel disqualified for God's work.

Can you imagine how Peter must have felt after he heard the third rooster crow? At that very moment, it hit Peter. He looked up at Jesus and met his loving and merciful eyes. I'm sure Peter's heart sunk. I would imagine that he was so consumed with guilt and shame that all he knew to do was go fishing.

I'm sure there are many of us that have also experienced that shame and guilt. I have. There may be things you have done in your past that keeps you from stepping out and doing the will of God. The enemy used my guilt and regret as an attempt to make me believe I'm not qualified to share God with others. But, you know what? Jesus called Peter anyway. He calls me anyway. He calls you anyway.

Moses was used despite his speech impediment and excuses. Matthew was used by God although he was considered scum to everyone else. Rahab, a prostitute, and one who I'm sure other women constantly gossiped about was used by God anyway. Despite our obvious flaws, problems, and disabilities, God can use us anyway.

So what is stopping us? Why do we consistently hesitate to be used by God? Is it because we don't feel we know enough? Is it because we fear what people would think about us because they know our assorted pasts? Or, is it because we can't seem to find the "chutzpah" to step out against the status-quo, to get out of our comfort zones and step out in faith trusting God will provide for all of our needs?

There are many of us that want to be used by God, but we have gotten so caught up in our day to day lives that we miss our opportunities. We have to be willing to take the first step.

Moses had to take the first step and throw down his staff. He had to throw down the security of his job, where he found his identity. The two fisherman, whose lives depended on their trade, trusted the man and had faith that their needs would be provided. They left their family and threw down their nets. Rahab, feared the Lord so much that she wagered hers and her families life to hide the men that agreed to spare them. And then, there is Peter, who was so ashamed for what he had done, but found the strength to press on because of the love, grace, and mercy of Jesus.

Even now, as I write the blog post, I am struggling. I feel very inadequate. (I just had to step away from the keyboard for a while to reflect on why I am writing this in the first place.)

Just to be completely honest with you; I am just an ordinary average woman who loves Jesus. I still have my challenges, my struggles, my qualms; but for some reason I feel compelled to write. Maybe this is to help me as much as it is to help anyone else. It may not seem like it to you, but this is getting out of my comfort zone. I only just started reading my Bible on a regular basis. I have only really been living the way I should for a few short years. There is a part of me... and maybe it is the Holy Spirit, that is calling me to something. I don't know what that is yet, but maybe that will be revealed in time. So, when I ask the questions that follow, I am asking myself as well...

Is God calling you (me) to step out in faith? How can you (I) be used by God? What is your (my) first step? What is the staff you are (I am) holding onto so tightly in your (my) hand that is keeping you (me) from God's will for your (my) life?

What do you see as your disqualifications that God will qualify through His grace?

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