Psalm 44:5 (ESV)
Through you we push down our foes;
through your name we tread down those who rise up against us.
The strength of the ones God uses is never the issue. This is a recurrent theme throughout all of the Scriptures. Moses, Gideon, David, Samson, Peter, Paul are the biggest examples in the Bible of God using people who did not have what we normally consider to be the qualities necessary to accomplish great exploits. Yet these men did just that. And there are many more mentioned throughout the Bible. Even Jesus Himself, came in ordinary appearance, in obscurity, and accomplished His mission in ways unknown to those expecting the Messiah.
The Gospel is spread throughout the Roman empire and eventually the whole world by people without power, influence or education, for the most part. In fact, it could be argued that one of the worst things to happen to the church was its legalization and becoming the official religion of the Empire. Once it became accepted and trendy and desirable, it lost its vitality.
Parts of the church today are caught up in the thought that what it takes to grow an effective church is effective leadership and people. What is meant by effective is gifted for the task, skilled, dynamic, charismatic. We see this in our critique of large “successful” churches in that we talk and plan as if using their technique, mimicking their leadership style and generally following them in their methods will reap the kind of growth that they have enjoyed.
We also see it in church leaders who conclude that since they are not superiorly gifted or talented or dynamic that they should not expect to accomplish much in their ministries. We give lip service to “Without Me you can do nothing” but it is worth asking whether we really believe it. Those who are not experiencing growth as we think it ought to be experienced in particular, can fall into believing that the lack of growth or effectiveness cannot be reversed since we have so many impediments.
When leaders in the Scriptures used such reasoning (and they did) God’s response was usually along the lines of “This is not about you. It is about Me and what I can do”(See Exodus 3 & 4). The point? If God has called you to a task, to hold back from going into the spiritual battlefield of church leadership against the odds and with great gusto is sin. It is a testimony that we trust ourselves more than God. It is a way of blaming God for our failures. It is to lay the charge against Him that if only He had made us with the right abilities we could have accomplished so much more. It is to blame Him for our failures.
Our problem is not lack of gifts. It is not a matter of insufficient resources whatever we conceive them to be. It is our lack of trust in the power and willingness of God to accomplish His purposes through even us. If God has called you to a work He has not called you to fail and He has not called you to accomplish nothing. He has also not called you to get your definition of success from anywhere but the Bible.
But He has called you to go into the battle against the odds and show His power. It is through Him that we will win souls for Christ. It is through Him that we will live non-conformed to this world. It is through Him that we shall do things that no one will be able to analyse and attribute the results to anything in us. We need to proudly put on the mantle of the great failures of the Bible and take a stand for God against all the odds. Let us not mourn the lack of talent that we possess. Let us remember that God uses the talentless who simply trust in the power of God to do far more than we can ask or think.
Neither he who plants and he who waters are anything (I Corinthians 3:7). Well, if they are not anything, what are they? Nothing. Let us not blame God for our fears or our beliefs that victory can only come through the super gifted. It is the Gospel that is the power of God and it is the Gospel that we must live and deliver.
Does God guarantee us greatness as the world (and many Christians) define it? Absolutely not. We must not succumb to the pressure that we are failures if budgets, numbers, influence, popularity in Christian circles, are not grabbing the attention of the evangelical world.
The universal testimony of the Scriptures is that our abilities are supremely not the issue. Our fear and sin may be.