Feeling Unqualified? Overwhelmed?
Judges 6:15-16, “He (Gideon) said to Him (the Lord), ‘O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.'”
Unqualified? Overwhelmed? Yeah. I understand all about those two feelings. Let me tell you a story. When I was in my early 20s I was given the opportunity to enter into full-time ministry at my local church. They needed a youth pastor. The church told me they would hire me to serve as their youth pastor with one small stipulation. I had to be willing to also serve as the children’s pastor. Now, let me give you a little background at this point. At that time in my life I was single. I had only been sober and drug-free for a little over a year. I absolutely hated children. I was actually terrified of them. No one could have been more underqualified. But I wanted to be the youth pastor; so, I told them that I would gladly serve as the children’s pastor. Little did I know what God had in store for me.
I still remember my first Sunday in kid’s church. As I walked in the door nothing could have prepared me for the scene that unfolded before my eyes. My first thought? Honestly? I thought, “So this is what happened to the flying monkeys from ‘The Wizard Of Oz.'” Children were running everywhere. They were screaming, hollering, crying, fighting, making all kinds of noise. If there had been chandeliers, they would have been swinging from them. It was utter chaos. Sheer pandemonium. As the pastor shut the door behind me I felt like I had just been condemned to prison. I had never once even sat in children’s church (didn’t grow up in church). I had never heard of “Father Abraham.” I had no lesson plan. I had no clue as to what I was going to do next. Every instinct told me to run and never look back. Feeling unqualified? Overwhelmed? You have no idea.
Gideon was a man who felt unqualified, a man who felt overwhelmed. Just think about what the Bible tells us about the Midianites. The size of their army? Innumerable. They had so many camels and so many people that God decided there was no point in counting them. It made about as much sense as trying to count the grains of sand at the seashore. What was one man against such an army? In Gideon’s mind? One man was nothing. To make matters worse. Gideon was not a man of influence. He wasn’t going to be able to rally the people. He wasn’t charasmatic. He didn’t have any political clout. His family? They were the least important in their tribe. And Gideon himself? He was the youngest in that family. No one was going to value his opinion or listen to a single word he had to say. Forget the fact that he had just had a divine encounter. He wouldn’t be able to command anyone’s attention long enough to even share the vision. No, as far as Gideon was concerned, God had certainly chosen the wrong man for the job.
I love God’s response. He doesn’t try to talk Gideon “down off the ledge.” No long explanations designed to convince Gideon otherwise. He doesn’t tell Gideon that he needs to enroll in the local Judean School of Ministry. No empty words of bravado. No pep talk. No locker room speech. Just a simple, straightforward declaration. “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.” God agrees with Gideon. Gideon is absolutely right. Gideon is not the man from the job. He can’t do it. Not apart from God and not apart from His presence.
Gideon’s success would not be determined by either his past experience or his present abilities. Gideon’s talents meant nothing with regard to this present calling. God’s presence with Gideon was the guarantee. Through God Gideon would be able to do the difficult, the unbelievable, and the impossible. One man would put to flight an innumerable army because God was with him. One man would be able to end the oppression because God was with him. One man would be able to turn the people from their idolatry because God was with him. One man. Because God was with him.
It’s really no different for any of us. God still calls the ones who are unqualified. He hasn’t chosen you because of your talents, abilities, or giftings. He doesn’t need them. God needs people who, like Gideon, are willing to recognize and admit their lack. So often it is our prideful self-confidence that exempts us from kingdom service. We think we can do it. But it is only in weakness that His strength is perfected. God’s not looking for strong people. God is looking for people who know that they are weak, who know that they can’t do one single thing apart from Him. If that’s you, then take heart. Rejoice. If you feel unqualified and overwhelmed in your present calling, it probably means that you are right where He wants you. He wants you weak. He wants you to recognize your lack. He wants you to draw all your strength and sufficiency from Him. Yes, Gideon was unqualified. But he would still do great things because God was with him. Go forth today rejoicing in your weakness. Surrender to God and let Him do great things through you!!!