Here’s A Thought for Sept. 14

Jesus does not call the qualified

Jesus does not call the qualified he qualifies the called. If God called the qualified we would wait for the phone to ring for a very long time — since none of us is ever qualified to represent, serve or present ourselves (as ourselves) to God.

Every profession (and nearly every job or occupation) requires some education, training and experience to advance, expand, receive a pay raise or a promotion. Your calling as a Christ follower, however, is different. It works in reverse. It’s not about what you do or where you come from or even who you are. It’s about who He is which highlights who you are not.

Jesus called some hapless day laborers who were fishing to feed their families. He summoned a tax collector to put down his ledger and pick up the mantle of service. For most of us our education, occupation or fascinations consume a large portion of our identity. Instead of being known as parents, siblings friends and advocates we take on titles with letters behind them or conduct business according to the volume of “business” we’ve conducted.

So how did Jesus do it? Was he successful or influential? There is no book which bears his name as “author.” He died as penniless as when he was born. He never lived in the same place for more than a few years. His closest followers rejected him. One disciple betrayed him another denied that he ever knew him. His family thought he was crazy. Would you follow this guy?

He upset the authorities. He alienated the religious elite. He healed and fed multitudes but he left many people unhealed. The crowds that once hailed his power quickly called for his head; and they got it. Then the rumors started. He’s back!

He not only came back — walking through walls, eating fish — he kept teaching timeless truths, commissioning more followers, making more promises. He promised his future followers that we would never be alone and that he would be coming back soon.

To those who would reject his message: he will be returning. To those who hated his followers, put them in jail, mocked them, whipped them and killed them: he’s coming back. For those who will doubt his identity, question his sincerity or criticize and twist his message: he’s coming soon.

But it’s not entirely as you might think. He’s not just coming back to even the score or to get revenge. He’s coming back because he promised he would — with the same message, same love and with the same warning that he gave the first time. For nearly 20 centuries the waves of time, culture, sin, human depravity and intrigue have crashed against the Rock of Ages but He … hasn’t changed. He’s still ticking off powerful hypocrites, confounding empty-hearted rulers and thwarting the Prince of Darkness (that slime-ball!).

When you feel unqualified or underqualified or not qualified at all try following the biggest loser of all: Jesus of Nazareth. He lost his family. He lost his innocence (because he took on our guilt). Yet he still calls sinners (who sin against him) to repent, he seeks out the lost that they may be found.

He makes the poor in spirit rich. He marries widows. He adopts orphans and speaks nothing but good news all the time to everyone everywhere. He offers you eternal life when you put your faith in him only, calls you to obedience even when he knows you can’t always maintain it, and demands (yes, demands) that you apply his singular, all-saving grace to your life: nothing else can cleanse you, no one else can save you and no one can follow him for you. I guess that qualifies Him above all else. It’s not too late.