I spent my teenage years in a small church in rural Alabama. I'm not sure exactly what the content of my pastor's sermons were but I know that I thought I heard the message that a solitary sin post-salvation meant my ticket was repunched in a southerly direction. I decided then and there I was not qualified to be a Christian.
I spent my twenties striving to be the best wife and mother I knew how to be. I tried desperately to kindle a love between my husband and I. We divorced anyway. I decided then and there I was not qualified to be a spouse.
I spent my entire academic and occupational career in the field of mathematics. I attempted to obtain a delicate balance between interaction with coworkers and the peaceful solitude of my cubicle. I socialized with a particular coworker a bit too frequently and he married me. I eventually lost my job. I decided then and there I was not qualified to work.
It will probably come as no surprise to you that when God first began to move in my heart to write, my answer was a definitive, "I am not qualified." I feel no more qualified today then I did that very first day. In fact, in some ways I esteem myself less competent to write now than I did then.
This morning my passage is 2 Timothy 1. Paul has opened his second letter to Timothy with a reminder to be faithful to his calling. It is clear (See 1 Timothy 4:12) that Timothy was young. Based on his youth alone, he likely felt inadequate to fulfill the role of evangelist and church leader with which Paul had charged him. I personally have little trouble imagining the litany of excuses Timothy had ready to recuse himself from his post because I've probably used every one of them myself.
God doesn't desire any one of us to run from our calling. Instead He wants us to run to Him as the competency. Note how Paul describes what our reaction to God's call should be:
- Fans at the Ready (Verse 6) - "Fan into flame the gift of God." When I see a fire, I grab the closest bucket of water or fire extinguisher I can find. That small spark of the Holy Spirit's prompting isn't meant to be ignored but to be fanned into a fiery inferno as God works through me.
- Fear in the Garbage (Verse 7) - "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (fear)." Fear is a call killer. It is fear - fear of failure, fear of criticism, fear of the unknown that makes it so natural to say, "I'm not qualified." As we cast fear to the side, power, love and self-discipline take its' place.
Jesus, You have called me not because I am worthy and not because of anything I have done but because of Your amazing grace. Any gift I have is from Your hand. Today I choose to once again set aside my fears and walk in faith. Turns out I am not qualified but You are.