Monday, April 13, 2009

In Other Words--No Limitations


God’s promises are never affected by our failures. He can use us at any age.
~Michael Youssef from Leading the Way~

I don't know this book. Actually I only know a little about the author that I have scraped off the internet. But knowing the book might help me put some context around these two sentences, which actually seem a little disjointed together. I can easily write about "God not affected by my failures" and I can write about "God using us at any age" but how do the two fit together?

But it does remind me of the Apostle Paul teaching Timothy. He says to Timothy,
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.
1 Timothy 4:12-13

Paul reminds Timothy that it is not his age that could disqualify him, it is his actions. And if he is devoting himself to right actions, then he remains qualified.

I remember way back when I was preparing to go to seminary. A church endorsement was needed for the application, and the fact that I was a woman was making that rather tricky. Finally I met with the leadership to attain their "approval." The pastor, a highly respected and gifted leader in the Southern Baptist Convention, eventually asked the question on everyone's mind: "Little lady, what exactly do you think you can do for God?" I took a measured breath and asked something about what any of us could do for God and the question was then finished "....since you are female?" Another measured breath and God gave me the answer. I said, "I'm not really sure. All I know is that God created me female and placed me in a Southern Baptist home and now He is drawing me to seminary. I don't know what I can do for Him, but I believe He is big enough to figure out those details." A few seconds of silence incurred and then an unanimous vote to endorse me was given. My gender could have been the stumbling block, but God was so much bigger than that!

Yet in every ministry position I took, I always felt that there was someone watching to see where I messed up. They were waiting to relate my failures to my gender and thus discredit any woman working in any ministry. Likewise, I believe Timothy must have felt that way--that people were just waiting for him to fail so they could say "see he's too young." But the truth is, we all fail. We are human and we are sinners and we all make mistakes, sometimes we even make huge mistakes. But it is not because of our age or our gender or ethnicity or our cultural upbringing or any of the other things that others may want to pin it on. It is because we are what we are---sinners saved by grace.

We should never be afraid to step out and do the things that God is calling us to do. It is true, we may fall flat on our face at times but his grace is sufficient to cover those times. And he is faithful to complete what he starts, irregardless of how many times we fail in the process. That's what grace is!

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
~2 Timothy 1:8-10~

Today's hostess is Karen at In Love W.I.T.H. Jesus. Please join us as we gather at her place today. You will be blessed.


Kristin said...

Wow...that was a phenomenal answer given to the question of what can you do for God since you are a female?

Wow, wow, wow!

The Mellberg Family said...

Good to see you guys. Sorry we didn't make it by on Sunday. Hope you all have a wonderful trip.