I’ve been thinking about this recently, and my thoughts began to coalesce after listening to yesterday’s sermon. I asked myself a question. Have I ever felt like I needed to be qualified to follow Jesus or to serve Him? I think we’ve all asked ourselves that question, and if we’re honest, the answer would be yes. We think we need to be qualified to serve Him, and many of us think we’re not qualified at all. I know that at times I’ve felt unqualified to do either so I want to address those questions today.
First, there is the decision to follow Jesus. I remember reading John 3:16-17 as a teenager. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” God loved me despite what I had done. God had sacrificed His Son for me! For a person who didn’t think she was worthwhile as a teen, that was an amazing revelation. What I didn’t understand until later was that this decision wouldn’t make me perfect, at least while I was still in this world.
I still did bad things, but now I had someone to talk to about it and to ask for forgiveness. But, as I think about my life in the years since then, I realize there have been many times I’ve felt unqualified to have this faith of mine and to follow my Lord and Savior. How could Jesus love me when i couldn’t stop messing up? Did I really believe what I said I believed? I felt like I needed to volunteer for every activity at church to make myself worthy. It didn’t help that everyone else was able to keep their imperfections hidden while mine were out there in glaring color. I didn’t understand that sin would be my constant companion until this earthly life was over, but that God would give me the strength to live like He wanted me to live.
And there it is. We can’t do this life and walk this faith road by ourselves. I think many times we look at the people in Scripture whose lives were changed by God and think that God can never change our lives to the point of being worthy of Him. But, He does! He calls the humble and the broken. He calls those who know they are sinners. He calls us all to be His church. I liked what my pastor had to say. “The only qualification to follow Jesus is to realize you’re not qualified.” (Garry Brantley)
I loved what he said, and it is so true. As I progressed past thinking about following Jesus to wanting to serve Him though, I wondered if it still applied. Do we need to be qualified to serve Him in our churches, in our workplaces, in our homes? I believe it should apply. We should be able to serve God and share our faith with abandon and with the Holy Spirit permeating every part of our being. Does it happen that way though? A lot of times, it doesn’t. People don’t think they’re worthy to serve in particular positions. I’ve heard comments like “I don’t know why they would want me,” and “I’m not good enough.” I’ve seen women steered one way and young people steered another. People are pushed into categories, and damage is done to faith. They don’t ever see how they can be good enough to serve because they can see all their faults and no one else’s.
Is this fixable? Can we ever get to the point of being open to whatever God wants us to do and depending on the power of the Holy Spirit to be the church in a dark world that so desperately needs to see Jesus’ love. I believe so. I really do. I believe the answer lies in the quote I shared earlier. We don’t need to be qualified to follow Jesus or to serve Him. Our hearts just need to be laid bare and open to His leading. Praying for all of as we seek His leading!
God bless you all!