A few years ago, I had a big failure in ministry. It was a humbling time. I left that experience, thinking I was not qualified to be a minister and developed a deep lack of confidence in my own abilities. Maybe you’ve had an experience like this in life and ministry?
It was through failing, that I realized my own limitations, weaknesses, and sinfulness. In ministry, one of the best things we can learn is that we are completely unqualified to minister in Jesus’ name. The amazing mystery is this: once we realize how lame we are at, we can actual start do it. We begin to rely on God in a way we never imagined possible and actually allow him a chance to work. In the end, it is his love and mercy that people most need and want, not our great ideas or best laid plans.
Jesus does not only call super successful, qualified, professional types. Throughout history, he seems to work with those who are lowly, inadequate to the task. He does not desire our qualifications, abilities, or expertise. He simply wants our availability and we can revel in the fact that when we are weakest his strength shines through.
Last Saturday we had an outreach in a park. I didn’t want to go. We were going to give food to the homeless and we had been so busy with our small children, that we had no food ready. I felt totally unprepared. I am awkward at talking about my faith with people, much less strangers, but I prayed and the words came to me, “All you have to do is go and be available.” I went and was surprised by how God showed up and allowed me to minister; talking and sharing with people and there was plenty of hotdogs and cookies for all. God always finds a way to love his people.
Are you feeling like a big failure in ministry? Do you distrust your own strength, knowledge, or power? Are you beginning to understand your own shortcomings? Praise God for it. Once we realize this we have never been closer to God and bringing people to our loving and tender - hearted Jesus. And, how is it, Jesus, that you can use someone like me? You still continue to blow my mind.