But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. [Jonah 1:3a (NLT)]
Jonah was told to go to the enemy nation of Nineveh and preach God’s judgment but, rather than obey, he ran away. Moses was also given a task—bring the Israelites out of captivity into the Promised Land. God was clear about the assignment but Moses was equally clear in his protests. Rather than run away, he listed all of the reasons he wasn’t qualified. Although God resolved every one of his concerns, Moses was still reluctant and spent a good part of the next forty years in complaint. Gideon was also given a task by God—rescue Israel from the Midianites. Like Moses, he protested that he was incapable and then dared to question (not once but three times) God’s promise to help him. Eventually, all three men obeyed God’s call but not without questions, complaint and protest.
Unfortunately, when God calls us, we usually react like Jonah, Moses and Gideon. Although we say we’ll gladly do His work, the task must be on our terms. There are places we won’t go (Africa), people we don’t want to touch (homeless), jobs we protest (speaking in public or dirtying our hands), and restrictions on our time (no more than one afternoon a week). Like our unenthusiastic Biblical heroes, when God calls us, we’re more than willing to list our inadequacies—we’re not smart enough, strong enough, talented enough, or good enough and surely someone else could do it far better! We forget that we don’t have to do God’s work under our own power. Rather than calling the qualified, God qualifies those He calls!
Isaiah heard the Lord asking, “Whom shall I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” Without hesitation, he responded, “Here I am. Send me.” For this prophet, there were no questions, qualifiers, or objections. He readily said, “Yes,” without even knowing exactly what it was God wanted him to do or how he was supposed to do it.
I understand that in the army, after the drill sergeant says, “I need three volunteers,” he simply points and says, “You, you and you!” Obedience follows without argument or stipulations. We’re in God’s army and, as Commander-in-Chief, He’s not looking for excuses, limitations, exemptions, exceptions, or even questions when He calls us to action. Isaiah eagerly said, “Here I am, Send me!” How will we respond?
It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. [2 Corinthians 3:5 (NLT)]
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. [Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)]
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