In a very real sense not one of us is qualified, but it seems that God continually chooses the most unqualified to do his work, to bear his glory. If we are qualified, we tend to think that we have done the job ourselves. If we are forced to accept hard evidence lack of qualification, and there’s no danger in that we will confuse gods work with our own or gods glory with our own. (L’Engle Walking on Water page 62)
Last summer when my current book editor contacted me about writing a book, he asked if I had ever thought about writing a book. The honest answer was an emphatic no, it had never crossed my mind. In fact, even beyond having never thought about it, I knew I wasn’t the man for the job. I hadn’t taken a Writing or English class in school since my senior year of high school. The reality is I didn’t think I was qualified to write a book.
Throughout my conversations with this editor God began working on my heart and mind. I sought out the advice and thoughts of other writers and family members as I weighed whether this task was truly one God was placing before me, or a temptation to pull me into a situation I was unqualified for. What I learned in that process is likely quite apparent to most of us, but had not yet stuck in my head.
God often calls the unqualified to do the work only He can accomplish through them.
Consider the many well-known Biblical characters and patriarchs of the Christian faith. Joseph was the youngest son in a large family, completely unqualified for any level of leadership according to his brothers. Joseph in the Gospels is a meager carpenter who had no ability to fully understand the miracle going on in his future wife Mary. Moses led the people of Israel despite never feeling qualified (“Who am I?”). David was the youngest son in a family where his job was to tend the sheep, but God called Him to become the King of a great nation. Abraham was a godly man who rarely trusted God to do what God had promised.
Not one of these men was ever qualified in the eyes of men when God called them to the work He had prepared.
As God was working within me, I slowly began to see a need for spending time to discern out whether I was qualified for the work ahead of writing a book, or whether it was God who was placing me there. Sure, any of us can convince ourselves God is calling us to something He isn’t really calling us too. We can all say we’ve “prayed and discussed this with several people and feel led to go ahead.”
I think when God calls the unqualified it goes a level beyond this mere acceptance of what we think God is doing in us. I think it’s a recognition that God is using this next step to allow His work in us to continue in a new way.
God calling the unqualified is a dying to self because the impossible is only possible through God.
God calling the unqualified means we’re choosing to step out in faith, unsure of how the task will be accomplished.
More than anything, this is the great lesson I’ve learned in writing a book (it’s not finished yet though!).
I hate to make this sound like a nice, pithy story of God calling me to something and it being an easy road. I was and still am very much unqualified to write a book. It’s taken blood, sweat, and many, many tears for something half-way decent to get onto paper over the last several months. It has not been easy.
But I don’t think God would have it any other way. I could not have done this on my own. I am completely unqualified and unable to do it on my own.
In the moments of complete desperation, God showed up. In the moments when I had no idea if I could continue, I sensed His presence continue pushing me onto the next step.
I believe God lovingly calls the unqualified, because His holy love brings us to a deeper reliance upon our relationship with Him to help us grow into more of who He desires us to be.
(totally stole that line from Carlos.)