Judge God’s People by God’s Standards
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. The most successful CEO will be an utter failure running a church without a heart for Jesus. It is being with God that is the sole defining quality of great workers for the Lord. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Looking first for anything else is setting up the church for disaster.
Say there is an opening on the elder board of a church. According to most church manuals, the standard operating procedure is to form a search committee. Then the committee looks at the church members to judge who in the congregation would be best suited for the role. If the job requires organization, they look to a winning coach or a leader in the professional world. If it requires handling money, they look at the successful businessman or banker. The reasoning is that they are used to handling people, leading people and raising money so they can transfer their skills into the church 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.
The Apostle Paul’s Job Interview
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 and an Apostle. I would also like to write the majority of Jesus’ New Testament and preach grace to the world.
Interviewer Ananias: Great, you are hired!
I have interviewed a lot of people as a lawyer, but I don’t think I could have ever been prepared for 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 on 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. For another example, read about David when he was called to fight Goliath. David fought Goliath trusting God chose HIM, not anyone else and he expected David to fight his way. God Chose You for a Purpose!
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. For another excellent example read here about the shoe saleman with the 3rd Grade education who preached to millions DL Moody and Focus.
God Chooses the Weak but Willing and Makes us Strong
Do you feel called by God to do something in God’s Kingdom but feel unqualified? Do you feel worthless in your church, like you can’t do anything and have nothing to add?
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 Qualifies the Called – Do We Trust Him?
God chose you for a purpose just like He chose Paul and David. His choice, His plan, His purpose. It may not seem to make sense at the time, but God does not judge like we do. He passes over each of David’s 7 impressive brothers in favor of the young shepherd when choosing Israel’s new King. Why was David Chosen to Be King? He does not look at the outward appearance, but at the heart and He is never wrong. He chose you, warts 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”. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
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.