My roommate and I had a friend come over tonight as this friend and I watch the new Smallville every Thursday night. (Or Friday afternoon if we have to.) Yes dear readers. My roommate is still unrepentant and has yet to enter into the joy of Smallville. Nevertheless, this involved somehow our discussing with our friend how we first met.
What happened for us was that he was passing through my town and so I invited him over and then we went out to dinner at my favorite pizzeria. My roommate reminded me of a story tonight where his mother had told me about a pastor who was hesitant to do baptisms and communion. I don’t recall why, but he felt unworthy.
My reply pretty much?
The honest truth is, we are all unworthy. None of us deserve to be in the position of ministry. We’re there by grace and we are blessed to get to serve. We don’t get to serve him because of who we are. He lets us serve him because of who he is. We are unworthy servants doing as we have been told. (Luke 17:10.) The good news is God likes to treat his servants very well.
I try though to honestly stay humble in the face of all that happens. This week, I have received a number of compliments at the seminary and it seems to happen more often and every time, I get more and more amazed. I just cannot believe at times that God has so far taken someone like me who is an unknown from an unknown town and is using him to do great things.
Due to certain conditions I have, I was not predicted to do much with my life. I was not seen as one who would finish High School. Whoops. I did that one! I was told to not go into ministry because I would not be able to speak in front of people. Apparently, they would have been stunned to have seen the sermon I gave to the student body where I was in Bible College to about 1,000 people.
Every single time, I have thus far proven people wrong.
1 Cor. 1 talks about the kind of people God uses which includes the foolish to shame the wise and the weak to shame the strong. This keeps making more and more sense. I was with an apologist friend of mine in another state once who was introducing me to members of his church and being very complimenting to which I finally told him “You’re going to give me a big head!” He just smiled and said “Don’t worry. You know who you are.”
I didn’t understand that much then, but I think I understand it more now. My friend had seen my own heart better than I, which is what friends can often do. We can often be totally blind to aspects of ourselves that our friends see clearly. This is one of the great blessings of friends. My roommate, for instance, has done more to build up trust I think than anyone else and enabled me to do more than I have just by being a friend.
Ministry is not about worthiness. It’s about showing who is worthy. It’s an enjoyable job in many ways, and it’s also hard. I enjoy arguing with skeptics, but there are times also you get tired of being in the firing line and you’re thankful that you have good friends around you at those times who are able to keep you going strong.
There are times I’ve needed to go on to bed some nights, but someone needed to talk, and I didn’t think it should be put off, so I talked. They had a pain in their life and they just wanted an ear. I know I’ve had enough people who have done the same thing for me. Will I be tired and exhausted overall the next day, even if it’s a work day? Yeah. That’s what you do though.
You always keep in mind your unworthiness. I think of what my friend said and all I had stacked against me and how its been overcome so far. I can’t explain it through natural means. I know I’m not the same person I was ten years ago. I imagine going back to a high school reunion and having people wonder if I’m the same person who left. Ontologically, yes. Qualitatively, no.
There’s something amazing though when you hear all the good stuff during the day, and yet you go to pray at night and you think “Wow. How amazing you are that you pull all this off God!”
My answer to that pastor would still be the same. No. You’re not worthy. Who cares? God has called you to serve and he has blessed you with that opportunity. If you have the gifts and the opportunity and the desire, then serve.
It’s not about you and your worthiness after all. It’s about him and his worthiness.