Ah, qualifications. Years of work and study giving a person fun little letters to put after their name and fill up their resume. Some people have enough to make words, or even sentences, from. Others have none.
That would be me. In the latter group.
Which makes it interesting writing the ‘qualifications’ sections of proposals I’m writing for my books at the moment.
What qualifies you to write this book? Uh, life experience? I have a lot of that. But apart from that, um, nothing.
Fortunately, I write fiction rather than non-fiction, which means that (thankfully!) the qualifications section isn’t quite as important as others but I still feel a little pathetic every time I try to fill it.
Aren’t you glad God doesn’t require us to have any qualifications to work for him? I sure am!
One of my all-time favourite verses in the Bible is Acts 4:13, where two of Jesus’ disciples have been hauled before the religious leaders (those super qualified leaders) and begun to address them.
When [the leaders] saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Unschooled, ordinary men. Astonishing the leaders who’ve studied the scriptures their entire life.
Peter and John weren’t qualified to be speakers, writers, pastors or leaders. They hadn’t gone to university or Bible college. Hadn’t memorised the scriptures or written 20000 word essays titled ‘The Divinity of Jesus and How That Applies to the Everyday Man’. They’d simply been with Jesus, and that was enough.
It’s enough for us too.
I’m not saying qualifications aren’t great. Believe me, if you ever want a job, you’ll need them. But when it comes to speaking about Jesus, they’re not required.
You’re not unqualified if you’ve spent time with Jesus.
To tell that friend about the difference Jesus makes in your life? No qualifications required. Just tell them.
To become a mentor to someone just starting down the road you’re already travelling? No qualifications required. Just spend time with them. Let the wisdom God’s already taught you teach them.
To encourage someone you know who’s struggling? No qualifications required. Encourage them. Send them a letter, even if it just says ‘I know you’re doing it tough and I’m thinking of you’. Drop over a bunch of flowers or a block of chocolate to them, just to let them know they’re not alone. Leave them at the front door or somewhere they’ll find them if the thought of talking/finding words is too much!
To pray with or for someone? No qualifications required. Just pray. God already knows what they need. He just wants to give you the privilege of being part of their journey.
It’s so easy to feel insignificant, as if God couldn’t use us, because we don’t have the right qualifications. I’m not a pastor. I’m not good speaking with people. I sound like a bumbling two-year-old when I try to pray out loud. And even if I do speak up, I know they’ll all be wondering what on earth makes me think I have the right to be telling them what to do…
As much as those things might be the truth, they’re also lies. Or perhaps excuses might be a better word. Because God doesn’t require us to be a pastor or an expert to be used by him. He just requires our willingness.
When it comes to being Jesus’ witnesses in this world, you already have all the qualifications you could possibly need.
Because you’ve been with Jesus.