I can be a bit of a perfectionist, or as my wife likes to tell me, I am just little impatient. When I begin something I want to be good at it quickly, to excel, and if it does not appear that I am getting better quickly, I get quite discouraged, and sometimes I will even quit trying or move onto something else (except golf, I have played for almost 13 years and am still not real good). This is a natural and pretty normal reaction from most people. If we approach a task that we are not good at, or there is someone with more training or skill than ourselves available, we will often not engage it. This does not exclude our faith and church life. When we run into areas of ministry that are unfamiliar or that we don’t feel gifted in, we often will simply not learn more about it, we will leave the work to the gifted, to the trained, maybe even to the pastor.
Yet Jesus disciples, the future leaders of the church, were nothing short of the C team. They were not religiously educated or trained and they struggled in their faith even after being around Jesus for three years. Yet this is the group that Jesus identified as the future leaders of the church. But the poorly educated disciples were some of the strongest most powerful evangelists and pastors ever. So how did this rag tag bunch become the A team for Christianity? Did they read some books, take some classes? In John 14 Jesus disciples are wondering how they can continue their work, and Jesus tells them this, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:16, 26, TNIV)
We don’t get involved because we feel unworthy, unable, or untrained. The disciples felt the same way, unworthy, untrained, unable. But when God sent them the Holy Spirit, Jesus told them, no more excuses, your ministry is not going to be controlled by your gifts and skills, but instead by your willingness to be used by God. Your ministry is going to be driven and empowered by the Spirit from now on.
Is there some ministry or task that you have been avoiding because you don’t feel skilled or gifted to do? How could I invite my neighbor, what would I say, maybe I need a class in evangelism before I can even talk to them. I can’t be a KIDS HOPE mentor unless I have a background working with kids. The list of reasons can be endless. Yet Jesus says, no more excuses, I have given you the Holy Spirit to empower your ministry, to help you do things in ways that you alone could have never done, do you trust me? Do you trust that I can do all things through my people? God will use you for his purposes, to invite a neighbor, to teach a Sunday school class, to sing in the choir, to welcome visitors on Sunday. But are we willing to be used, do we trust that God really work through us?