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Does God Qualify the Called?

called

There is a common saying among evangelicals that goes, “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called”. If you are not familiar with that saying, it essentially means that you do not have be skilled, or meet your preconceived prerequisites, for the task that God is calling you to. The idea is that if God is calling you to something He will equip you to complete it. It is a saying that carries forward the sentiment of Hebrews 13:21 which says, “Now may the God of peace… equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ…” It also harkens back to the biblical heroes who were called, by God, to complete a seemingly impossible task.

In every situation it was clear that the Saint was not qualified to complete the task, but in every circumstance God’s will was seen complete through them because God equipped them. It is a solid idea and a completely biblical concept. In fact, it is such a solid biblical concept that I have even heard pastors say it during sermons. By and large I do not have an issue with it being included in sermons; it is important for congregants to hear and understand that there are not specific “qualifications” to answer God’s call. Unfortunately there are those that will preach this idea and then tell people that they are not “qualified” to do what they feel God calling them to do.

Our Cautionary Tales

As we look through the bible we see this same issue throughout, where God calls a person and those close to him or her doubt their qualifications. People told Noah he was crazy for building an ark, something he was presumably unqualified to do. The Israelites continually doubted Moses leadership. David’s brothers doubted his anointing as king. Not only did others doubt their qualifications, the called person often argued how un-qualified they were.

In every circumstance, God still called them and still saw His will completed through them. And still, with all those examples at our fingertips, we choose the same path of telling others that they do not possess the skill-set to accomplish what they “think” they are being called to. We look through at a situation with our fallible human eyes and intuition and presume to know what God is doing and how He plans to do it. And I am not dismissing the gift of discernment that Holy Spirit gives. What I am talking about is our human nature to assume that we know even though the Lord declares, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.”

Our Example to Follow

We have plenty of examples about how not to handle someone communicating feeling called by God, and then there is Jesus. Jesus unquestionably calls the least qualified people to follow Him and deliver the Gospel. During that time a Rabi would have only allowed the brightest and most knowledgeable student to follow him. In fact, a Rabi would not be caught dead allowing a fisherman to follow after him, let alone twelve. Among those unqualified persons who Jesus selected were four fishermen, a tax collector, a revolutionary, a cynic, and a betrayer. Yet, Jesus still called them. Then Jesus did something unprecedented; He spent three years equipping them for the work of building His Kingdom. And that is what Jesus calls us to, helping to prepare others to fulfill the call God has given them. This is especially true if you call yourself a leader, or even a mature Christian.

Call it What You Want, Just Commit

You can call it whatever you want: coaching, mentoring, leadership development, it really doesn’t matter. I prefer to call it discipleship. There are people that God will give you who require you to invest time into them. If you are maturing in Christ and desire to see God’s Kingdom here on earth, you are obligated to invest that time. Discipleship is not a short-term endeavor. It took Jesus three years to prepare his disciples. During that time there was plenty of opportunity to toss them aside because “they just weren’t cut out for it”. But because they, and He, had a deep desire to seeing God’s “kingdom come and will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-13) they stay committed to the process. In the end, God qualified the called.

photo: STBM.org

The Continuous Call to Follow Jesus

follow

I was recently studying the passage of scripture about Jesus restoring Peter after his denial of Him (John 21:15-19). I was studying it for another post I was writing and discovered a couple things that warrant their own posts. One was in verse 19. It says, “He said this to signify by what kind of death he would glorify God. After saying this, He told him, ‘Follow Me!’”

Peter’s Backstory

To make the point, jogging our memory with a little back story refresher is necessary. We are first introduced to Peter in Matthew 4:18. That passage tells us that Peter and his brother, Andrew, were fishing when Jesus walks by them. Upon seeing them, Jesus tells them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At that invitation, Peter dropped his nets and followed Jesus for the next three years.

Those three years would reveal deep truths to Peter. He would learn what faith is and gaze upon the visible image of his invisible God. I can hardly imagine what it must have been like. His time with his savior would provide the conviction for Peter to say, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away” (Matthew 26:33). But Peter would fall away and fall away hard.

Peter’s Call… Again

While the other disciples fled and hid, Peter outright denied multiple assertions that he was with Jesus. After Jesus’ crucifixion, we can assume Peter did not see a way back to Jesus, because he returned to the life Jesus had called him out of. And then we see Jesus, likely on the same shore, with Peter performing the same task. After reinstating Peter, Jesus tells him, for the second time, “Follow Me!”

Jesus’ Call to Us

And, this is where Peter ends up; with Jesus offering the same call to him as He did three years prior. The good news is, He offers the same to us. No matter what you have done or how far you think you have fallen, He still says, “Follow me.” His is a call we get to answer every day. And as sure as darkness will come, His merciful call to follow Him, comes more.

photo: Flickr/Simon Matzinger

Accomplishing Your Dream: A Lesson from a Toddler Putting on Socks

Toddle Socks

One of our toddler’s obsessions is shoes, or as she calls them “pretty shews”. When I say obsession, I mean we are routinely tempted to throw them out as a means of intervention. She loves shoes. And, because she loves shoes, she learned fairly quick how to put them on all by herself. She even responds to, “wrong feet” and promptly corrects them. She is pretty much a genius. Socks on the other hand are a tad more difficult for her, so she still requires our help in that area.

A couple months ago she came into the kitchen, socks and shoes in hand, with the dream of wearing them in her heart. She walked over to us and said “Shock on. Shews.” My wife was cooking and I was doing dishes, so I responded, “Okay baby. I’ll help you in a second.” Then turned to wrap up my task. When I turned back to help her I was shocked to see that she had already put on her socks. I looked at her and celebrated, “Yay! You put your socks on!” She responded by throwing her hands in the air and declaring, “Yay shocks on!” I did need to help straighten them, but all in all, she put her socks on, with the heel mostly in the correct spot. As I stood and watched her put her shoes on, I thought about what it took for her to achieve that dream.

Okay, maybe it is a bit over the top with the dream thing, but it was something that she really wanted and she went after it. Of course there was a learning process for her, but eventually she decided she was not willing to wait for someone else in order to see her dream of shoe wearing fulfilled. The same is true for your dream. There is a point at which you have to decide that you are going to accomplish your dream, even if you do not know how.

Here are four things that I took away from my daughter putting on socks that might help in accomplishing your dream:

1. It is okay, even necessary, to watch others.

Whatever the task you want to complete, no one expects you to just know how to do it right out of the gate. My daughter watched us every time we put on hers or our socks. While we did, she talked through it, mostly just pointing and saying “Shocks on.” But, I looked at it as her asking about putting socks on and verbally walking through the process. She learned by watching someone who knew how to put on socks.

There are others who have success in the area that you want to succeed in. So watch them. Read what they write. Watch their videos. Take their courses. Email them. Ask questions. Learn from people who know what they are doing.

2. Be confident in what you have learned.

Eventually there comes a point that you have learned what you needed to. You have read all the blogs and books, watched the YouTube and Face Book videos, attended the webinars/courses and have pages of notes. But it is not enough to just know what you need to know, you also have to be confident enough in what you have learned to apply it.

There came a point in my daughter’s sock wearing journey that she had learned enough to give her the confidence to do it herself. She trusted what she had learned and applied it. In addition to transferring knowledge, a teacher should also build confidence in your ability to apply it. Stop following people who do not inspire confidence in you.

3. Do not wait for someone else.

My daughter really wanted to wear her shows, but her sockless feet stood in the way. She could have either waited and went shoeless for another five minutes, or implemented what she learned and wear her pretty shoes now. She opted for the “pretty shoes now.” She did not wait for permission or for someone else to say she was ready, and she did not wait for someone else to do it for her, she just did it. In the same way, you do not need someone else’s permission, so start.

4. Do not be afraid to accept help.

My daughter could have refused my help and instead put the shoes on over crooked socks. It would have worked, but it probably would have been a bit rough on her walking. But she did not refuse. Instead, she realized I still knew stuff about sock wearing that she did not and she accepted my offer of help.

In 2015 I launched a blog called, The Whole Man. After my first post a lady contacted me and said it was a great post, but there were some grammatical errors and she could point them out if I would like. I could have been offended, refused and went on my way, never realizing the generosity and blessing in that offer. But, I knew enough to realize that there are people that know far more about writing than I do, so I accepted her offer. Now, more than a year later, I have an amazing copy-editor and coach and my writing is so much better. And, I have gained a dear friend. People want to help, do not be afraid to accept it.

With all the technology available to us, not knowing how to do something is one of the worst excuses for not accomplishing your dream. The world is literally at your fingertips and there are people that want to help you succeed. So put on your shocks and shews and start walking toward your dream.

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