I was listening to Tullian Tchividjian speak about the disciples that Jesus chose. He mentioned that Jesus didn’t choose religious or wealthy men. He chose men who had nothing to bring to the table. He also said that God doesn’t need perfect vessels to carry out His will, He needs broken ones. There’s a lot in just those few statements that speaks to me. I think that the 12 men whom He chose to give His life changing message to says a lot about who God is and what He sees in people.
I was teaching a sales skills class by Brian Tracy recently and he talked about he studied companies with the lowest turnover in employees. He found that those companies had one thing in common: they didn’t hire based on qualifications. Instead, those companies hired based on attitude. I think God does the same thing. He doesn’t care what credentials you hold, how many times you’ve failed, how little you have to offer or how much you make. What He cares about is your willingness to do what He asks.
When Jesus chose the disciples, He pretty much walked up to them and said, “Come follow me.” They didn’t ask Him who He was. They didn’t say, “Let me finish doing this task.” They didn’t ask to go say goodbye to family and friends. They dropped what they were doing, left family and friends to follow Jesus. They were chosen because their attitudes were the type that was willing to do whatever a God asked without worrying about everything else that typically stops us from doing His will.
These men were not perfect either. Peter had a big mouth. Thomas was a skeptic. Judas was self righteous. Matthew was a tax collector who had cheated people. The list goes on. God does not choose people to carry out His will based on what they offer. He chooses people based on their inabilities. If we could do everything He asked on our own, where would faith come in? If we were confident enough to say what He tells us to say, we would think we were doing it in our own strength. If we had the credentials and expertise, pride would swell up in us. Instead, He finds broken and chipped vessels to put together to do His will so He can get the glory.
Have you limited yourself in what you feel God has called you to do because you don’t have the skills or ability? Have you thought God wanted you to do something that was over your head but turned Him down because you couldn’t do that on your own? You don’t have to have a degree in Public Speaking to share what God has done for you. You don’t have to have a Masters in Anthropology to help the needy. You don’t have to have a Doctorate in Theology to discuss with others what you found in God’s Word. You simply have to be a vessel that’s been broken and ready to use by Him for His purpose and His glory. He will give you all you need to be successful in your calling.
Transitions in life are hard. They mean that one part of your life’s story is over and a new one is about to begin. They are the space between where faith is tested and fear fights to creep in. They are a temporary no man’s land that we have to walk through in order to grow. As we walk through them, it’s hard to see what’s coming next. The territory is so unknown to is that we put our attention and focus on the transition rather than on where we’re being transitioned to. We question God’s providence in our situation during these times.
I remember one of the first lessons I learned working in a child care center was with transitions. Kids hated transitions as much as adults. I learned that if I told them we were going to be making a change in activities in a few minutes, it would give them time to finish what they were doing and to prepare mentally for what was coming next. Now, when I talk to sales reps, I talk to them about transitions in the sale. It’s important for the buyer to know where they are in the sale and what’s coming next. I even encourage them to share with the buyer the why behind the transition.
As I’ve thought about all of that, I started wishing God would give us the warnings about transitions approaching in our lives and the why’s behind them. As I prayed about it, God reminded me how many times Jesus told the disciples what was going to happen to Him in Jerusalem and why. They never heard a word of it and were shocked in the Garden of Gethsemane. They entered a time of transition between having Jesus walk with them daily and having the Holy Spirit coming as their guide. Like us, they were confused, frightened and wondered where God was in the transition.
God speaks to each of us daily. He says things we ignore or don’t want to hear so we block Him. We use our selective hearing when He speaks of things that scare us. The disciples heard Jesus tell them about the transition, but they weren’t listening. Even when we know a transition is coming, it’s still natural to be scared. We’re afraid of change. The last few years have taught me that change is necessary for growth. When we fight it, we fight growing, we fight the future God had for us and we fight God’s will. Our times of transition help prepare us for the change. They grow our faith and trust in God’s plan for our life. It’s something we can only see when we take the time to look back.
Imagine if Peter and the others had stayed locked up in their house and never went to the upper room. Out of 500 people whom Jesus told to go and wait, only 120 made it through the transition. They were tough enough to stick it out and trusted that God had something more on the other side of the transition. As He did for them, so He does for you. God has something greater for you on the other side of this time of transition. It may take longer than you expected, but hang on. The reward will be worth it. The growth you will experience will be like no other time in your life. Don’t give up in the time of transition. Hold strong to your faith and trust God to see you through.
In the NBA Finals game last night, San Antonio was up by 5 points with less than a minute to go. The coach of the Spurs pulled Tim Duncan, the team’s best rebounder, so he could put more speed on the floor. The plan backfired. San Antonio missed two critical rebounds in the remaining seconds that gave the Heat the ability to tie the game sending it into overtime and ultimately win.
Each person on a team has a critical role. Each person in Christianity also plays a critical role. I mentioned yesterday how Peter was the one who got out of the boat, spoke up when a question was asked, chopped an ear off and preached at Pentecost. Jesus chose 12 men who were different because each had a role to play in the kingdom. Some were fishermen, some were tax collectors and he even chose a doctor.
Jesus was able to take those 12 men and turn the world upside down. He was able to spend three years coaching them, training them and teaching them before turning them loose. Not all of them were rock stars out in front of the crowd. Many were role players that fulfilled their calling through their abilities. None were stagnant though. Each of them gave their life for the cause of Christ.
Our churches are filled with people sitting on the bench. They have a great seat to watch what God is doing, but rarely jump in and help. It may be because they feel their abilities aren’t up to par with someone else’s. It may be because they’re not sure what their talents and abilities are. Whatever the case, it’s time we all got off the pew and started fulfilling our roles in His church.
The great commission wasn’t to go to church. It was to go into all the world preaching the Gospel and making disciples. We are to use our relationships, our abilities and our talents to share what God has done for us with the people we meet. It is our responsibility to go. It is our duty as Christians to make disciples so that they can repeat the process with someone else. We were not called to sit and listen. We were called to go and give.
You were created with a purpose. Whether you know that or not, you were. God has a desire and a plan to use you. It may not be on a stage in front of 20,000 people. It may be in a coffee shop in front of one person. Where ever it is and however it is, He is looking for your willingness to be used and to not hold onto the treasure He placed in you. We are to give away the love that He gave us. We are to live a life worthy of the call that He has given us. What will you do today with the love and message He has given you?