Thursday, 31 October 2013
Do you know the problem with the world? I think I have figured out part of it. Sin being too over simplistic an answer for me, although that is the biggest problem, I think that we have it all backwards. I am sure I have read somewhere that the ones who want to be first must be the servant of all. We have definitely got it wrong.
A good friend once said to me "David, you're going to be a great dad one day." When I asked her why I was stunned by the answer. "Because you're built like an indoor climbing frame!" I think God is kind of like a spiritual climbing frame for us to clamber over and learn more about each day. The young lady was only eight at the time (she's now married with kids of her own), but she knew God then in a way most adults do not or have forgotten they can.
Adults bug me. They look for qualifications. Does the potential candidate have the right piece of paper that says they sweated in an exam room in the right college for three hours ten years ago? Yes? Then they get the post. It seems it doesn’t matter if you can actually do the job better because you have already been doing it for thirty years. You do not have the right piece of paper anymore.
Well, I want to put the record straight. The world’s qualifications are not God’s. The world has this crazy idea that paper or an exam is God's way of saying who can do His jobs. That is why little kids are so great. They do not care if the person with them ever sat an exam in child minding, never mind where you sat it. If you can tell a good story or are built like a climbing frame that is enough for them. I love kids because they just tell it how they see it.
They have enabled me to understand why Jesus said unless we become like little children we could not enter Heaven.
Qualifications are not everything. Look at the start of the third chapter of Luke's Gospel. Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate, Herod, Philip, Lysanias, Annas and Caiaphas were all highly qualified men. Indeed Annas and Caiaphas were High Priests in Jerusalem, and so powerful in the nation of Israel, Herod, Philip, and Lysanias were Tetrarchs in their respective areas. They were revered by men, held in awe and spoken of in hushed voices in case a raised voice caused offence. So, which of these mighty and well-qualified men did God choose and say "This is the one"? None of them! The Word of God comes instead to John, Son of Zechariah in the desert! This guy must have been a first century biker! Hair probably matted, dressed in hides, and looking like a wild man, God chose him because his heart was inclined towards His will. This man was not obsessed with title or qualification; rather he wanted to see God show the long awaited Messiah to Israel.
Similarly when Israel wanted a king, Saul was a real Man’s Man. Tall, muscular, handsome. A truly imposing man. He’s the one the people want. He’s also the one who fouled things up so badly God destroyed his entire family. There are many descendants of King David, the young shepherd boy Jesse didn’t even see as worth introducing to Samuel. Saul’s family ended badly because of his sin.
Yep, adults have it all wrong. God looks on the heart, not the intellectual ability. Not the academic nonsense. God's only question is "Will this one let me be a climbing frame for them?" God chooses each of us, not on our merit or abilities we have, but on how much we are prepared to allow Him to do in and through us.
I want to be used. I really do. I want to reach the nations, and speak His word, and do His work, but there is still this part of me that says I want do it. Until I get past that "I", it's not easy for God to use me. Certainly, I am not going to be any help for healing. "I" does not have the power to heal anything, (excuse the grammar) but when "I" is given up and Jesus moves in, then I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
What is the "I" in your life? Pride, arrogance, call it what you will, it is there in all of us, and it is a direct result of the Fall. The trick is to see the "I" before the "I" gets to the front. Once that happens, and pride gets in it can kill a ministry gift. The hardest thing is when people thank you for your prayer. It is tempting to play false modesty. That can be an "I" getting in the way.
One more thing. If any of us can have an "I", and any of us can give it to God, then that means that any of us can be used by God to further His work. Even if we are dressed in animal skins with matted hair and a Harley-Davidson.
Or even if we have got the “necessary” qualifications for the job!