We make a classic mistake in church life when we judge the qualities of the Christian based on the world’s standards. A person’s eloquence, coolness or success in the business world means nothing to God on their own. Without a rock solid relationship with Jesus, even the most well-intentioned expert in organization management can do nothing for God. It is being with God that is the sole defining quality of great workers for the Lord. Looking first for anything else is setting up the church for disaster.
Say, for example, there is an opening on the elder board of a church. According to most church manuals, standard operating procedure is to form a search committee and have the members set out to judge who in the congregation would be best suited for the role. If the job requires organization, they often look to a leader in the professional world. If it requires handling money, they look at the successful businessman. The reasoning is that they are used to handling people, leading people and raising money so they can transfer their skills into the churches version. It makes sense according to man’s logic but is a terrible error in God’s eyes. God simply does not judge a man by what the world’s standards. God’s standards and choices for leadership are very different than man’s. The man who has all the skills but doesn’t have God completely unqualified. The man who is completely overwhelmed by the position but on fire for the Lord is God’s first choice.
Consider Saul of Tarsus when he was chosen by God. Can you imagine if there was a search committee of the church at Antioch that was charged with picking the next evangelist for their church? We know what Paul the Apostle did when he was chosen by God to be His anointed vessel of the Gospel. But we forget what how horribly unqualified he was when he went by his Hebrew name of Saul. Saul interview before the official Antioch evangelist search committee would go something like this:
Interviewer Ananias: So you want to be hired by our church, what were you doing in your last position?
Interviewee Saul: Well Sir, I spent the last few years, up until a couple of days ago actually, doing my best to destroy other churches. I even tried to go to Damascus and destroy the new church you have there. I was really good at it too! They compared me with a wild animal tearing at its prey.
Interviewer Ananias: Ok, so I will write down that you are a real self-starter. How did you find out about our advertisement for a position?
Interviewee Saul: Well, it’s an interesting story. You see, I was holding the clothes of those who were stoning your friend Stephen to death, stoning being hard work and all and I heard him talking. Then I was helping put other church members in jail, forcing them to betray Christians and then having them killed. They were all talking about how great the pastor of your church is, how you have great benefits and how I should apply here. Then after I purposefully ignored that for a while, goads stink BTW, while I was on the way to Damascus to get more workers I mentioned killed or jailed, I met the boss. After He knocked me down and blinded me, He said I had the job!
Interviewer Ananias: What position are you applying for?
Interviewee Paul: I want to be a Chosen Vessel of God.
Interviewer Ananias: Great, you are hired!
I have interviewed a lot of people in my tent making career, but I don’t think I could have ever been prepared for interviewing someone as ill-suited for the position as Saul of Tarsus. If it was just based on worldly wisdom, he would have been thrown out of the interview and perhaps into jail. His resume boils down to the fact that he was totally unqualified for the job but God chose him. He had been the biggest enemy of the church and thought he was righteous when he was killing Christians.
Before meeting Jesus, Paul was perhaps the last person in the world who should have been chosen to fill the position of Apostle. It would be like asking Osama Bin Laden to fill in as Prime Minister of Israel for a while. Based upon logic and history it is just not going to end well. But God picked Paul and made him His chosen vessel to use for the remainder of his lifetime.
Paul was extraordinarily weak in the very areas that God needed workers and that worked just fine for God. For it is when a man is totally weak and completely without ability that God does his best work. When we are weak and reliant on Him, God is happy to show His power in abundance. It is only when we think we are strong that God’s stage becomes cluttered. There is only one star of the show in God’s theater and it is not us.
God’s choice went swimmingly, converting thousands, because of God….not Paul and his qualifications. It was God’s plan, God’s mission and God’s power that carried it out, not Paul.
If the answer is yes, then answer this – Have you been out trying to destroy your church and killing Christians and forcing them to renounce Jesus’ name? No, good, then you are already a better candidate for Christian service than Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus Road before he met Jesus — You are hired!
God chose you for a purpose just like He chose Paul. His choice, His plan, His purpose. He is never, ever wrong. He will never say, “Wait a second, I did not realize that Bob had cheated on his taxes or stole office supplies when I died for him — can I take this back?” He chose you, warts and illicit staplers and all. Now, do you trust God in His choice to provide His power to get His results, despite doing it through a lump of clay? You are enough “because God chose you”.
It is the One who called that is important not the one who is called. Understanding and remembering this is the key to our every step in faith.