“I’m not cut out for that ministry.” She said, reluctant to tell me “No.” “Maybe not,” I replied hoping to convince her that I felt God wanted to use her despite what she thought. “But how will you know unless you try? God often seeks out people unqualified; He often is seeking to push us outside our comfort zones, what is impossible with us is totally possible with God.” She squirmed a little, looked at me a reluctantly and said politely, “Well, I’ll pray about it.”
I wonder how many people in Churches have had a similar conversation. If you spend any amount of time in Church you’ll come across people who cannot. Well at least they don’t think they can. In their own strength, I have no doubt that they cannot. It reminds me of a story I read in the Gospel of John:
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. (John 6:5-13)
The disciples had no imagination for what Jesus wanted to do. They looked at their situation from a “reasonable” human approach and reasoned that what Jesus was suggesting to do was impossible. How often do we look at our Senior Pastor and reason that what He is suggesting to do is not possible? How often do we look at Church budgets or bank accounts and reason that what God is asking us to do is not feasible?? How often do you look at yourself in the mirror and reason that what God has laid on your heart is not possible because you don’t think you’re the right man for the job? Remember Moses? He reasoned and said much the same thing. Look how God used him anyways.
We often reason like Philip, thinking in human terms what would have to happen to accomplish the great things God wants to do. But then something wonderful happens, Andrew brings a boy to Jesus who has a small lunch of two fish and five loaves. They weren’t big Italian rolls or big tasty trout—this was a small-poor meal—hardly enough to feed the small boy. The little boy did not know what Jesus would do with those five loaves and two fish, but he was willing to give up his lunch for Jesus. We often focus on the amazing miracle and overlook what precedes it. We want Jesus to perform great miracles in our lives, but like Phillip, we can’t reason or foresee how those miracles will be accomplished in our lives from our point of view. So we remain seated, hands tucked into pockets, head down and saddened because we want so desperately to be used, we want Jesus to accomplish amazing things in our lives today.
Jesus just asks that we bring what we have. He doesn’t need us. He just wants us. He wants us to offer what we have to Him—no matter how small or poor.
The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.” Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.” She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.” (2 Kings 4:1-7)
Consider this widow who is at her very last straw. Her debts and needs are so great and so desperate that someone is coming to take her sons as slaves. Elisha has her collect as many jars as she can and to just pour out the oil that she has into those jars even though she has so very little oil. What does God do with so little oil? He multiplies it until she fills every single last jar that she has been able to find. She’s able to pay off her debts and her whole family is able to live off of what is left. That’s a miracle! But she believes Elisha, she believes that God can provide, even though by human reasoning, it seems ridiculous. Much like the little boy who gave Jesus his lunch, she doesn’t know how God will provide, she might even feel embarrassed or that what she is to do is ridiculous. By human reasoning it seems impossible, but with God it is possible.
Let’s not tell God what cannot be done, let’s just give Him all that we have and let Him figure out the rest. If He asks you to do something that seems impossible, that will push you outside your comfort zone, that will stretch you tight financially, that will exhaust every last drop of strength in you then just go do that thing remembering that when you are weak, He is strong, that when it is impossible for you in your own strength that it is totally possible and doable for Jesus to do it.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” – Jesus