Monday, February 18, 2019

Me? Not me!

If you are like me in the slightest, you may have found yourself on one occasion or another telling God why you aren't the most qualified for whatever it is he is asking you to do. You and I are not that dissimilar when it comes to occasionally making excuses for what we see to be a list of 'impossibilities' in our character when faced with what appears to be insurmountable odds or things we just find hard to do. I am an introvert by nature, so whoever thought I'd fill a pulpit, or stand in front of a classroom teaching? From the very first time, there was this little argument going on between God and I - you know, the one that goes something like: "Me?" "You couldn't mean me!" "I don't know the slightest about..."  Yup, that's the one. The one where we admit we know very little and possess even less in the way of ever accomplishing whatever it is that God wants to do with us. Maybe you have also been like me, hearing quite clearly from him that all of 'my' qualifications aren't the ones he is looking for!

"Don't think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment..." Then they were on the road. They preached with joyful urgency that life can be radically different; right and left they sent the demons packing; they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits. (Mark 6:8-9; 12-13)

The disciples are being sent out in pairs to begin to reach out to those in need. Their goal is to preach that the Kingdom of God is at hand and to heal the sick - setting the captive free. Before they go, Jesus takes a moment to give them their "marching orders". The first thing he focuses on is that very quickly displayed human tendency to tell God we don't have what we need to accomplish what it is that he is asking us to do. Jesus tells them not to be concerned about the "equipment" to perform the tasks ahead - letting them know in no uncertain terms that THEY are the equipment God needs and plans to use. It matters not what their 'pedigree' or 'degree' - he chooses to use the foolish to confound the wise, the simple to reveal the amazing, and the sinner to reveal the means to salvation.

This is an important message for us to receive - WE are the equipment God intends to use. It is not the fancy church buildings, the elaborately designed expensive outreaches to the community, or the mega-bucks sound system we might invest in so the message is heard. It is, and has always been, we HUMAN BEINGS that God uses as instruments to touch other HUMAN BEINGS. God knows our tendency to make excuses for what we view as a "lack" of ability on our parts - citing reason after reason for us not being able to reach out with the message of hope to those in need. Rather than allow us to focus on those excuses, he reminds us clearly - wherever he is, there is no thing lacking!

God has no other plan. We are his one and only plan. If we don't step up to the plan he has devised, the message is not going out as he intended - each of us with our unique ability to touch our own unique peer group. Yes, the rocks could cry out, but honestly, how many would rather hear the message from us? You know what it sound like when an orchestra of instruments like the oboe, violin, cymbals, french horns, flutes, etc., all play in unison. It is a thing of beauty - the unity of sound (each unique in its own way) bring forth a beautiful result. The oboe alone is not very graceful, nor is the cymbal, but put all together and playing in just the right timing, now that is a thing of beauty. That is what God has in mind for us - each "playing his/her own part" - each displaying the beauty God has place in each of us.

They went as he commanded. They did what he commanded. Amazingly, his Spirit was right there, backing up everything they were doing - just as he had said. The simple fact of truth here is that we step out in obedience, God is right alongside to back up each one of us, and he doesn't focus on what we don't have - he focuses on what it is we do have - HIM. We never stand alone - never need to worry about the message we preach. They preached with joyful urgency. Why? Simply because they knew they had a message of hope - they had a message of grace. They had experienced first-hand that God's presence in their lives made their life radically different. That is what we have the ability to share - the radical life change of a life touched by the grace of God. There ought to be an urgency burning within each of us to share what it is that God has done in us. The grace of God is best embraced when the results can be demonstrated - and nothing demonstrates grace better than a changed life!

What were the results of their obedience? The Spirit of God intervened. The communities they touched were changed for the glory of God. Lives were impacted with the grace of God - healing and transforming lives. There is always an impact when God's kids step out in obedience - using what he gives and not limited by what they 'don't have'. It is impossible for things to remain the same. Lives will be changed. YOU are his instruments. Each of us begins to realize our true calling when we yield to the skilled direction of our Lord and Master. Just sayin!

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