I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. — Luke 24:49
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. — John 14:26
Today I’m struggling to write. In spite of my three cups of coffee and one chai tea latte, the words remain out of reach. Perhaps I should clarify. It’s not that I can’t write anything. I could, in fact, write about some subjects without any effort. Like the various reasons why dark roast coffee — prepared in a French press for four minutes and topped with enough half-and-half to turn it a lovely shade of butterscotch — is my only beverage of choice before 10:00 a.m. Or I could wax eloquent about the value of daily reading — primarily historical or classic works — and the way the written word can teach us much about how to live.
Or I could go on and on about the medicinal value of sea salt caramel gelato, eaten by the pint. Only one spoon needed, thank you very much. Yes, I could entertain you with page upon page on these “lesser” topics without angst. They don’t require much, as neither coffee, books, nor gelato carry the weight of the world on their tiny little shoulders.
At least not on most days. But today I sit, mountain sweater wrapped around my shoulders and Macbook Pro propped on my knees, desiring to write words of both challenge and inspiration.
And yet I feel near paralyzed at the thought.
My Bible sits open, its nearness reminding me of its significance. I’m deeply aware of both my desperation for and my ignorance of the sixty-six books within. As much as I love God’s Word, I know I’m no pastor. I’m no scholar or theologian. My office walls display no seminary diploma in a shiny brass frame.
I am simply Michele. Ordinary wife and mom from a Denver, Colorado, suburb. I enjoy the Rocky Mountains, long walks at sunrise, and face-to-face conversations. And I make a mean batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Who am I to unpack the mysteries of God and speak with authority on His love and grace? Who am I to wrestle with all I do not understand, to unravel its complexities and deliver both correction and comfort? I am ill-equipped.
I’m just an ordinary woman searching for the Most High God.
Is that qualification enough? Today, I fear it is not. I’m guessing you have days like that too. Days when you hold the Bible open and turn its onion-skin pages, determined to understand the words, to absorb them and be changed because of them.
But just as soon as you begin to read, you run smack into the sharp awareness of your lack. The mysteries of God are beyond understanding. The depths of His Word impossible to unearth. Even scholars disagree on certain points in the biblical text.
I wonder if the disciples felt the same when they holed up in Jerusalem after Jesus ascended into the heavens. In the weeks before, He had died, risen, and then offered them final words of instruction.
But then the day came when Jesus needed to leave. To head to Heaven so God could continue the story He’d been writing since the beginning of time. I wonder if Peter felt an urgency to grab hold of Jesus’ robes. I wonder if John tried a last-ditch effort to beg his Master to stay. How would they carry on the mission of the Gospel without their Rabbi leading the way? They were fishermen and tax collectors, Galileans of average backgrounds and trades. They weren’t seminary trained or synagogue ordained.
They were ordinary men, desperate to know their God. Was that enough?
Yes. And no.
Which is why Jesus gave them a few final words:
Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit…. you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. — Acts 1:4-5, Acts 1:8
Were they qualified? Qualifications never entered the equation. Jesus never appeared the least bit interested in their educational or professional resumes. He seemed quite intent to choose those least qualified. And then He promised them they’d be clothed with exactly what they needed to do the job.
The Spirit of God.
It seems the longer we know Jesus and the more we read the Bible, the more we start to buy into this whole idea of education and qualification. There is nothing wrong with a seminary degree. There is certainly great value in becoming a scholar of the Word of God. Every day I give thanks for the men and women who have devoted themselves to the study of biblical and historical texts.
But without the Spirit of God, no amount of study will suffice. No amount of education will unravel the deepest mysteries.
With the Spirit of God, however, even those of us who call ourselves ordinary will discover extraordinary revelation at the feet of Christ Himself.
May the Living God, who is the portion and rest of the saints, make these our carnal minds so spiritual, and our earthly hearts so heavenly, that loving Him, and delighting in Him, may be the work of our lives. — Richard Baxter, The Saints’ Everlasting Rest
Who Am I?
It’s interesting — and telling — that God chose the common and ordinary as His closest friends and disciples. Knowing our tendency to either rely on our own smarts and skills or gravitate to those who have both, He went for those who had little of which to boast. How does this knowledge change your view of your qualifications for ministry — or lack thereof? Ask God to make you His student, to clothe you with His Spirit and make you hungry to sit at His feet and learn.
Excerpted with permission from I Am by Michele Cushatt, copyright Michele Cushatt.
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Are you just an ordinary person, too? Maybe you feel underqualified (or completely unqualified) to do what you are called to do or to share Jesus with others. Today, let’s remember that Jesus chose mostly poor, uneducated men and women to spread the Gospel across the world! And He chose us to do the same. Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We would love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily