I will never forget being called to the church I am at now. See, this church is one that my father pastored for twenty years. I served as a worship leader in this church for a couple of years before he was called elsewhere. When they left, I left not long afterward. I was the only member of my immediate family who lived in the area and I had just turned twenty and it had gotten difficult to answer questions about them at every service. Three years and three months after I left, as I was praying during the worship and prayer part of the service at the new church I’d started attending, all He said was, “Did you leave because you wanted to, or because I asked you to?”
It wrecked me. I left before He asked me to. I knew deep in my heart I was supposed to go back. “They’re going to be upset with me for leaving before. This is the most complicated situation You could call me back to,” I thought. I wondered if I was musically skilled enough. I wondered if I was bold enough to be a leader as I am typically very reserved and soft-spoken.
Excuses. God is very familiar with those. Moses had five excuses when God called him to Egypt to ask Pharaoh to set the Israelites free (Exodus 4). Jonah just ran away (Jonah 1). I most definitely had some. There is an old expression, “God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called.” God calls us in our imperfection because that is the only state He can call us in. We will not be perfect until we reach Heaven but there is so much work to do until then. I’ve found that if we give God ourselves, if we give Him our ‘yes’, He takes care of the rest. There is nothing we can give God that He doesn’t already have other than ourselves. 2 Timothy 2:21 says, “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (ESV). He does not ask us to be qualified, He asks us to be ready.
Despite my own excuses and doubt, the very next day I contacted the new pastor and church board and found that the worship leader they’d had during that time had just announced a cross-country move and the timing was absolutely perfect. God’s timing always is. The product of living within the will of God by accepting that calling has been a peace that surpasses all understanding, and all the fears I had at first have melted away. The beautiful thing about giving God our ‘yes’ is that it has three benefits. It furthers the kingdom – the first and foremost benefit. It allows the Lord to bless, encourage, and edify His people through us. And – it builds and strengthens us, even in the hardest moments of leadership, even when we are weak. In this current season, in my role as worship leader, I have been shaped and molded so much more than I would have otherwise been.God truly does work all things together for good and I have tasted and seen this firsthand.
If you are feeling unqualified today, whether it be doubts about your calling or even how to gracefully and bravely forge ahead in your calling during this trying season, allow me to remind you that the Lord has not asked you to leave yet. You are not done yet. You are here and perfectly positioned for such a time as this. In difficult times as a leader, you may be asked questions or be presented problems or struggles that you are going through yourself, but even so I encourage you today to come to your Heavenly Father with your concerns and your fears and then give God your ‘yes’ again. Let Him know you are ready for whatever He would call you to. Allow Him to quiet your heart and dismiss your fears. Billy Graham once said, “The will of God cannot take you where the grace of God cannot sustain you.”
Paul writes: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 3:12-14